food safety

Uncategorized

Glove law repeal passes Assembly Health Committee 18-0!

The bill to repeal the glove law, AB2130, passed the Assembly yesterday 18-0! Thanks to everyone who sent in letters of support, they really made a difference. We still have to get through the Assembly Appropriations Committee and then on to the Assembly Floor and the Senate. Still a long road to go, but the unanimous vote today shows that folks in Sacramento see this is a bill that the people dont want. Exciting stuff! Iso

Uncategorized

URGENT: Today is the day to show you hate the glove law: Vote in sacramento tomorrow

Tomorrow is a big day. Its the day the health committee decides whether to repeal the glove law. Your support on this petition is one of the reasons they're meeting at all, but now we need to show them you really mean it.

Two ways to help:

1. Send a letter of support to Benjamin.Russell@asm.ca.gov. There is a sample letter below, but you can also let them know in your own words that you support AB2130 (the bill to repeal the law). If you send a letter please let me know.

2. Go to Sacramento! I know its a drive, but its important that we have people there to show their support. The meeting is at 1:30pm in room 4202 of the State Capitol. Let us know if you can make it.

Thanks again for your support. Your voice is working to change a misguided law that will effect millions of people. We're in the homestretch now, we can do it!

Iso

 

Sample Letter:

[Date]

The Honorable Dr. Richard Pan

Assemblymember, 9th District

State Capitol, Room 6005

Sacramento, CA 95814

Fax: (916) 319-2109

Re: AB 2130 (Pan) – SUPPORT

Dear Assemblymember Pan,

[Name of your organization] writes to express our support of your AB 2130, which would

roll back the recently enacted law prohibiting bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food.

This prohibition, created last year by AB 1252 (Committee on Health), will require bars and

restaurants to buy and discard thousands of disposable gloves, imposing a significant financial

burden and environmental impact. The numerous glove changes workers will be required to

undertake will further result in a loss of operational efficiency. Though we are in full support

of ensuring food safety for restaurant customers, small restaurants and bars were not involved

in the discussion surrounding AB 1252. As a result, substantive changes that directly affect our

business and livelihood were put into place without our input.

[Optional: include a brief statement about your organization and the problems created by the

glove law.]

We thank you for introducing AB 2130 to roll back the glove law.

Sincerely,

[Name and title]

cc: Members of the Assembly Health Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Legislation introduced to repeal the Glove Law!

You did it! You signed and they listened! Assemblymember Pan, the chair of the Health Committee (the committee that passed the Glove Law), announced emergency legislation today to repeal the law! We're not done yet, we still have to make sure the bill goes through, but they havnt heard any major opposition so it's looking good. This is super exciting, and a real example of how powerful we are as a group. This is my first time wading into politics, and granted, its a law that was clearly ridiculous, but its really amazing how quickly this all happened. The people spoke and the government listened: If only all politics could work so well…. Thank you all for the support so far, and I'll make sure to keep you updated as we move forward.

Iso

Uncategorized

Glove Law update: Phil Ting

Been working working working on getting this campaign going. After just a few days we have over 2500 signatures on our petition! We're going to be meeting with Assemblyman Phil Ting tomorrow, hoping to convince him to champion the bill. Met with the new head of the GGRA (Golden Gate Restaurant Association), Pattie Unterman from Hayes Street Grill, and Earl Shaddix from Bayview Underground Market to talk strategy. We're going to really start pushing this out to media after we get Ting to agree to work with us (fingers crossed!).

Next steps are getting more folks in the city to be aware of the campaign. Going to be organizing some folks to canvas the cities restaurants, getting people to sign the petition. If you want to get involved, email me at iso@foragesf.com. This is exciting stuff! I really think we're getting somewhere in pushing back against this misguided law.

Iso

 

thoughts

Response to a response: Glove Law

I'm sure there are some of you out there with similar concerns, so I wanted to post this email I got, as well as my response: 

The email:

"Too many of us SF diners have gotten stomach problems from so-called nice clean restaurants.  This should not be merely about respect for the chef.  Instead it should be about respect for the health of your customers!    Your credibility is being shot if you think your email recipients would even consider that the former is more important than the latter.   Also, your proposal to change the law implies restaurant chains are as not as clean as small restaurants, when we all know it's far more likely to be the opposite!

Signed,

A diner and his friends who are tired of expecting a stomach problem every few months of dining at so-called nice clean SF restaurants."

My Response:

"Thanks for the input. I think that all these issues are important, and the truth of the matter is that gloved hands are not any cleaner (and often much dirtier) than washed bare hands. Having worked in restaurant kitchens, people with gloves on are much less likely to change those gloves when changing tasks (taking out the garbage then cutting vegetables), than someone is to wash their hands. It's really just a truism of the logistics of working in a kitchen. I definitely am not downplaying your desire to avoid getting sick (food poisoning sucks!), but this is not the solution, its just a mirage of safety that actually makes you less safe.

Thanks

Iso"

Sign the petition here.

Uncategorized

Glove Law Update: The Committee on health, and a bill written by a corporate lobbying group

What I’ve learned on the glove law: The last few days I’ve been trying to get up to speed on where this law came from. Who sponsored it? Who voted on it? How did it just appear without anyone in the industry hearing it existed? It’s been an interesting process, delving into the machinery of government, and so far I’ve found out:

The bill was introduced by The Committee on Health in February (weird no one heard about it), which includes our very own Tom Ammiano, and was sponsored (the ones who created the bill), by a group called The California Retail Food Safety Coalition (CRFSC for those long winded acronym lovers amongst us). So that means that this group is the one who actually wrote the bill, and gave it to the Committee on Health to push through. I contacted Pat Kennelly, who is the head of the Food And Drug Branch of California Department of Public Health, who told me that DPH did not advise at all on the bill publicly.

CRFSC is a lobbying group comprised of state health officials and private industry. Some interesting members include:

The head of the California Food and Health Branch, Pat Kennelly, as well as heads of several other California Health departments, Jack in the Box, YUM! Brands (the largest fast food company in the world, they own Pizza Hut and KFC amongst other chains), Olive Garden, and Safeway to name a few.

I am just learning about this group, but for me reading that list is disquieting. Imagining the folks who decide on our health code, the people who are being paid by us to protect and represent the people, sitting in a room creating legislation with fast food and supermarket chains, certainly gives me pause….I sent them a request outlining their justification of the law, and we’ll see what comes out of that.

I also reached out to Assemblymember Richard Pan, who is the chair of the Health Committee, to ask what information factored in their decision to support the legislation.

So at this point it seems that the bill was created by a lobbying group with made up  of CA health officials and corporate food giants, and quietly passed through committee. They did reach out to the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, who as I understand it does not support the bill, but for some reason none of us heard about it….More updates soon.

 

 

 

thoughts

On California's New Law Requiring Every Chef To Wear Gloves

On Jan.1 Jerry Brown signed into law a new addition to the California Retail Health Code, the document that governs all restaurants and food service establishments. This new provision requires nearly everyone working in a kitchen to wear gloves.  Single use disposable gloves that they change every time they change tasks. What the law states is that people touching food which won’t be cooked after contact need to wear gloves, but if you think about it logistically, that’s everyone. That’s a bartender squeezing a lemon into your drink, a chef salting a dish after plating, chopping garlic, rolling sushi, really anything done in a restaurant. The reality is that if followed to the letter, it would force every chef to go through dozens of pairs gloves a day.

This really bothers me. For the aesthetic crime of not letting chefs touch their food (which I firmly believe makes good food almost impossible to make), the environmental waste of tens of millions of gloves filling up landfills daily, and from what research I’ve done so far, the fact that studies suggest it actually creates a more bacteria rich environment (think about how sweaty your hands get wearing latex for more than a few minutes, how impossible it is to put on gloves with damp hands after you wash them, and how often they rip).

I disagree with this law, and I’m going to work to do something about it. At the moment we’re gathering information on the states justification of the law. I filed a Sunshine Request, like a FOIA for California, with Pat Kennelly, the head of the Food and Drug Branch of the California Department of Public Health, to find out the specific justifications of the law. What the process they used in creating the law, and what research was used to back the decision, what studies were done on the environmental impact of the law, etc.

If you want to get involved in the campaign, or if you have info that you think could help the cause, email me at iso@foragesf.com

More info soon…

 

 

SF Underground Market

If this bill passes, it could destroy the Underground Market

There is a bill being voted on this Monday that could completely destroy what we are all trying to build.  I don't usually speak out against congressional bills, I think that more good is done focusing on building locally rather than getting angry about what is happening on the federal level, but this bill needs to be stopped.  SB510 is a food safety overhall that authorizes fines up to $250,000 for doing exactly what we do at the Underground Market. Selling food made in home kitchens.  Killing small food producers, while allowing agri-business to thrive.  It even makes it illegal to give away food from your own home garden.  This bill would theoretically make every vendor at the Underground Market liable for a quarter million dollar fine for selling you a jar of jam. It could also make you liable for those same fines for giving away your backyard veggies to your neighbor.

I know most of us (and I include myself) often think that our voice has no impact, that writing a letter or making a call isn't going to change anything, but in this instance, we at least need to try.  If you have anything to add, or if you made a call or wrote a letter, let me know with a comment on this blog.

Read this for more information on the bill: http://bit.ly/fwGbwR

Call the congressional hotline to voice your opposition: 1-888-493-5443