• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

FrogPrincesse

New law in CA requiring cooks to wear gloves

50 posts in this topic

Frankly, if it comes right down to it, I am a heck of a lot more concerned with SICK employees coming to work and handling and serving food because they are in jobs where the employers ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO ALLOW SICK DAYS OFF WITH PAY and they can't afford to miss work and lose pay.

A friend whose son works at a big chain, mid-range, restaurant, said that she had to take his keys away from him when he was so ill with the flu he could barely stand - because his manager phoned and told him if he didn't get his ass in to work he wouldn't have a job.

He was off work a week and several other employees were also off sick, none got paid but they also did not lose their jobs. Possibly because an L.A. County Health dept. rep. went in (following an anonymous tip) and spoke to the manager and warned him they would lose their "A" rating if patrons became ill because they allowed sick workers in the place.

3 people like this

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Frankly, if it comes right down to it, I am a heck of a lot more concerned with SICK employees coming to work and handling and serving food because they are in jobs where the employers ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO ALLOW SICK DAYS OFF WITH PAY and they can't afford to miss work and lose pay.

Anybody who is seriously concerned with this issue should probably consider not eating in restaurants. I'm pretty sure what you're describing is the reality in the vast majority of restaurants in North America (and maybe elsewhere but I've never worked in restaurants outside of North America so I don't know). I'm not saying it should be... but it is.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Frankly, if it comes right down to it, I am a heck of a lot more concerned with SICK employees coming to work and handling and serving food because they are in jobs where the employers ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO ALLOW SICK DAYS OFF WITH PAY and they can't afford to miss work and lose pay.

A friend whose son works at a big chain, mid-range, restaurant, said that she had to take his keys away from him when he was so ill with the flu he could barely stand - because his manager phoned and told him if he didn't get his ass in to work he wouldn't have a job.

He was off work a week and several other employees were also off sick, none got paid but they also did not lose their jobs. Possibly because an L.A. County Health dept. rep. went in (following an anonymous tip) and spoke to the manager and warned him they would lose their "A" rating if patrons became ill because they allowed sick workers in the place.

We had a well known restaurant in the UK owned by a TV chef where about 30 or so customers contracted Norovirus (very forceful vomiting and diarrhoea) - for similar reasons that you have mentioned (staff coming into work when they should stay at home). The norovirus (as are many viruses) is spread by the 'oral-faecal' route, so bascically not washing your hands from the toilet / bathroom. Would wearing single use gloves assist in reducing the spread of such viruses? - maybe. Is it worth the legislation (on hygiene grounds)? possibly not. Judging food hygiene from a customer prospective alone is very difficult, we need the legislation (and enforcement) so we can have confidence in our food.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Frankly, if it comes right down to it, I am a heck of a lot more concerned with SICK employees coming to work and handling and serving food because they are in jobs where the employers ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO ALLOW SICK DAYS OFF WITH PAY and they can't afford to miss work and lose pay.

Anybody who is seriously concerned with this issue should probably consider not eating in restaurants. I'm pretty sure what you're describing is the reality in the vast majority of restaurants in North America (and maybe elsewhere but I've never worked in restaurants outside of North America so I don't know). I'm not saying it should be... but it is.

Hi, we all take risks on a daily basis. Food hygiene is about assessing and managing those risks. I love cooking and baking at home so never eating out wouldnt worry me but sometimes its just a pleasure to eat out. Food is big business and its a problem for legislators to get it right. If they tighten up enforcement or legislation, they get slated from the food industry for 'over budernsome legislation'. If they are too light with legislation, we get a food scare or food poisening outbreak that destroys confidence and damages food business too. Its difficult to live life by avoiding restuarants completely - and what about processed food? do we avoid that too for the same reasons?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, we all take risks on a daily basis. Food hygiene is about assessing and managing those risks. I love cooking and baking at home so never eating out wouldnt worry me but sometimes its just a pleasure to eat out. Food is big business and its a problem for legislators to get it right. If they tighten up enforcement or legislation, they get slated from the food industry for 'over budernsome legislation'. If they are too light with legislation, we get a food scare or food poisening outbreak that destroys confidence and damages food business too. Its difficult to live life by avoiding restuarants completely - and what about processed food? do we avoid that too for the same reasons?

I wasn't really suggesting anybody should avoid eating in restaurants. Or at least, that wasn't the main point of what I was saying. My point was that it's the reality and it probably won't be any time soon that it's not. The vast majority of restaurant workers don't really make a lot of money. Many (most?) restaurant workers don't get paid sick days. My bills don't care if I should or shouldn't go to work, they just expect to be paid. I'd like to say I would never go to work sick but I've called in sick exactly once in the past 12 years (due to a sudden unexpected appendectomy) so it's probably not too difficult to figure out what I actually do. Most people who work in restaurant kitchens as a career, if they're willing to be honest about it and not just try to sound noble on the internet, will tell you pretty much the same.

As for the gloves, I'm trying to picture someone in a busy kitchen constantly putting gloves on, taking them off, getting more, 10 times or more for each plate as they have to handle different things and, good or bad, I'm picturing a whole lot of non-compliance. The customers may want you to change those gloves 10 times while you prepare their food but, in most situations, they don't want to wait the extra time that will take as it compounds over each ticket. When those customers start complaining, the gloves will be at the bottom of the priority list.

1 person likes this

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gloves on their hands?

Seems to me that some people have way too much time on their hands. And do nothing but sit around and come up with ways to interfere in everyone's life.

Dear Lord, from these arrogant, know-it-all, do-gooder meddlers please deliver me.

:hmmm:

.

+10. When California is having its state pension money stolen by bankstahs, or getting ripped off for billions in energy costs by the former crooks at Enron (rolling blackouts, too, as I recall!), or teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, does anyone in its electorate or government ever look at saving the money wasted on stupid crap like this as a way to balance the budget? They saved an imperiled populace from eating politically incorrect foie gras a while back, but could not seem to do anything about the Bittman bacterial chickens that were attempting to kill people a while back, as I recall...

Food law generally works in favour of your economy because it means other countries can be confident in your food exports (being produced to a safe standard). In my oppinion one of the best single contributions the U.S. had made to the world was the development of HACCP. Think how many millions if not billions of people have been saved from food poisening and how standardised global food hygiene based on HACCP has boosted food business globally. Consumers need to be confident in the safety of their food. Just look at China and the problems they faced with milk contamination. Your politicians are only doing what they think is in the best interest. The single use glove law might not achievev its objective however.

No argument about the first part of your post, but the last sentence sums up the latest effort. I do not see any logical connection between the two. The glove law is utterly impossible to enforce, and not likely to make a dent in the wonderful world of germs and bacteria. For those extremely sensitive to such things, I fear that this is the wrong planet for them! :)


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gloves on their hands?

Seems to me that some people have way too much time on their hands. And do nothing but sit around and come up with ways to interfere in everyone's life.

Dear Lord, from these arrogant, know-it-all, do-gooder meddlers please deliver me.

:hmmm:

.

+10. When California is having its state pension money stolen by bankstahs, or getting ripped off for billions in energy costs by the former crooks at Enron (rolling blackouts, too, as I recall!), or teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, does anyone in its electorate or government ever look at saving the money wasted on stupid crap like this as a way to balance the budget? They saved an imperiled populace from eating politically incorrect foie gras a while back, but could not seem to do anything about the Bittman bacterial chickens that were attempting to kill people a while back, as I recall...

Food law generally works in favour of your economy because it means other countries can be confident in your food exports (being produced to a safe standard). In my oppinion one of the best single contributions the U.S. had made to the world was the development of HACCP. Think how many millions if not billions of people have been saved from food poisening and how standardised global food hygiene based on HACCP has boosted food business globally. Consumers need to be confident in the safety of their food. Just look at China and the problems they faced with milk contamination. Your politicians are only doing what they think is in the best interest. The single use glove law might not achievev its objective however.

No argument about the first part of your post, but the last sentence sums up the latest effort. I do not see any logical connection between the two. The glove law is utterly impossible to enforce, and not likely to make a dent in the wonderful world of germs and bacteria. For those extremely sensitive to such things, I fear that this is the wrong planet for them! :)

Why is the glove law utterly impossible to enforce? People can observe. When I was in Naples I noticed glassware was not being washed between uses. Was that why I got horribly sick? Of course I can't be sure. When I was in Loiyangalani I noticed the person filtering the drinking water simply poured from one container to the other, as the filtering process wasn't going fast enough. Was that why I almost died and had to be flown two hours to the hospital? Of course I can't be sure.

Had Mary Mallon worn gloves during her culinary career perhaps fewer people would have found themselves on the wrong planet. Of course I can't be sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a function of the number of cooking venues in California and the amount of money available to hire and pay inspectors...

3 people like this

Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a function of the number of cooking venues in California and the amount of money available to hire and pay inspectors...

Yup.

Observations from my life:

(while a student at a small Christian college) You can't legislate morality - it has to come from within.

(from my years as an engineer) your patent is only as good as your patent attorney in court.

(from my 60 years watching California pass law after difficult-to-enforce law) For those who don't care about the law, and there are plenty of them, they only care about getting caught, not about being on the correct side of the law.

My POV: the law is well-intentioned but won't have a serious impact on low-ball food establishments. I don't work in the industry so that is an outsider's viewpoint.

In my ren faire kitchen (we do not sell to the public - we feed our own group) I am ok with properly groomed well-washed hands touching the final product. If you don't want to have clean hands you will quickly tire of my asking you to wash your hands and probably quit showing up. I wear gloves when handling the final product because it is much easier to toss the gloves than keep washing my hands over and over.

2 people like this

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glove laws typically don't do much to address dirtiness from general kitchen grunge, cross-contamination from food products or handling money. And, as some may have observed, they may even make things worse. But they aren't really designed for that anyway. What they are designed to do is address the transmission of illnesses that come from poor hand-washing, primarily after using the bathroom. And all the signs in the world can't affect that behavior unless you are willing to post a monitor by the bathroom sink. Here is a good example of what a glove law does:

This particular county is extremely stringent on certain food safety issues. Due to a stubborn and repeated hepatitis outbreak years ago that was propagated from food handling staff in some local fast food restaurnats, we had a glove law that was in place and strictly enforced years before it was commonplace elsewhere. It does not seem a coincidence that the problem never returned once the law was enforced. In one particular year at the peak of the problem, this small county (population under 500,000) had 40% of the reported cases in NY state for the entire year - that is including the NYC metro area.

So... Huge hepatitis problem effectively solved with a glove law. If it seems that the problems solved by a glove law are more serious than those it fails to address (and I am guessing that transmission of things from bad bathroom hand-washing is a far more serious problem than transmission of everything else, both in terms of number and degree of severity) the law can make some sense from an epidemiological perspective. The fact that some scrupulous kitchen staff are inconvenienced doesn't really figure into public policy decision making.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It should be pretty easy to determine whether or not the hepatitis rate drops significantly following implementation of this law.

Let's hope it does.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those gloves are unwieldy for someone like me who has very small hands. The only place I have worked that had extra small gloves was in the laboratory of hospitals.

If ending the transmission of disease is the goal, then it would make sense that all persons who are handling fresh foods should be vaccinated for hepatitis B, as well as tuberculosis as a condition of hiring. (Let me count the vaccinations I have needed over the years to work in hospitals.) If public health is the end goal of this law, then let's take the bull by the horns and get the workers vaccinated and make sure they have hand-washing stations with plenty of soap and paper towels at the ready. To my mind, gloves are merely cosmetic if your personal hygiene is already suspect.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How many of us use disposable gloves for food handling in the home? (My guess: damn near nobody.) For those who do not use gloves in the kitchen, how often do you wash your hands after going to the bathroom (my guess: closing in on 100%) and during meal preparation (my guess: 10 times per meal, even if only rinsing sometimes)? How many times have family members contracted hepatitis, typhoid fever or other serious illnesses as a result of your cooking that were NOT directly attributable to the proverbial "bad clams" or some other food-borne problem? You catch my drift. I get that the lower one goes on the food chain (or chain food, perhaps), the greater the risk may be of all of the above, but it also seems to me that such places are easily avoidable and that they may well be breeding grounds for other health and sanitation issues that would best be dealt with by hiring more restaurant inspectors rather than wasting time and money with marginally enforceable or effectively unenforceable new laws. My guess is that people wash their hands in The French Laundry kitchen, and may even wear disposable gloves without a law requiring it when appropriate. Seems to me that establishments most in need of such a measure are at the same time the least likely to comply...

1 person likes this

Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't lived in California since 1991, but am stunned every time I visit by all the niggling legislation. I don't think more inspectors are the answer; are food service employees not required to take and pass a basic food safety and handling course? One of my sons worked in the cafeteria at his university and they were all required to take and pass such a course before handling food.

A separate person to handle the till is a good idea as well. Money is really dirty.


Edited by annabelle (log)
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.My guess is that people wash their hands in The French Laundry kitchen, and may even wear disposable gloves without a law requiring it when appropriate. Seems to me that establishments most in need of such a measure are at the same time the least likely to comply...

You can't really make exceptions for this kind of law. Who is going to decide which places are high-end and scrupulous enough to be exempted? On what criteria? How are they to know a show wasn't just made for the inspection? How will they adjudicate disputes and who will pay for that process? How will they ensure that an establishment still qualifies for an exemption on an ongoing basis? How will it play out politically and legally when this results in gloves only being required at inexpensive places operated, staffed and patronized by immigrants and the economically disadvantaged? Meanwhile, the reality is that if the French Laundry cooks want to continue going barehanded, after a while they will be able to do so, so long as they keep an eye out for inspectors and keep gloves handy.

As for whether the establishments most needing to comply are the least likely, the hepatitis results I posted above suggests that glove laws do have an effect on an epidemiological basis.

None of the foregoing means that I don't agree it's silly for FL cooks to wear gloves. I am merely pointing out that these laws generally do benefit the public health whether they are silly for some or not.

2 people like this

Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Sam that it would be impossible to apply the law to some and not others based on how high-end a place is perceived. The place where I work, while not fast food, would be considered low on the food chain compared to something like the French Laundry and I'm very diligent about hand washing. If people really believe they can accurately judge the cleanliness habits of the employees based on how high-end a place is or isn't, they're wrong. They can only assume based on generalities and hope they're right when it comes to the places they assume to be up to their standards.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nobody suggested that the glove law should be applied differently to different classes of establishments. Read what I wrote again. What was implied is that well-managed places with reputations to uphold are more likely to meet or exceed health standards and are more likely to self-enforce. Tri2Cook, while we cannot judge the cleanliness habits of any individual employee, but we can judge the compliance of any given establishment with applicable health laws (a manner of public record, as well as conspicuous public display and even regular media reportage in most states), which seems to me radically more important than wearing gloves (which themselves will no doubt not be employed as required and will end up carrying some of the same things that bare hands presently do), and surely more important than the cleanliness habits of any given employee. Well, except for Typhoid Mary, of course... :)


Bill Klapp

bklapp@egullet.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tri2Cook, while we cannot judge the cleanliness habits of any individual employee, but we can judge the compliance of any given establishment with applicable health laws (a manner of public record, as well as conspicuous public display and even regular media reportage in most states), which seems to me radically more important than wearing gloves (which themselves will no doubt not be employed as required and will end up carrying some of the same things that bare hands presently do), and surely more important than the cleanliness habits of any given employee. Well, except for Typhoid Mary, of course... :)

True and kinda the point I was making. The restaurant where I work isn't at the fine dining level but we maintain very high standards of cleanliness, food safety, etc. and have that consistently reflected in our inspection scores. The health inspector generally has to feed his ego by writing down some trumped up nothing at the end of the inspection sheet because it's apparently against the rules to just say "great job gang" after we clear all the checklist items. He's told us many times that we have by far the cleanest kitchen of any place in his territory. But it's not the type of place people might assume that to be true of. So, in a divided scenario (which I'm not saying you suggested, just joining in on discussing that idea), people would probably insist on us wearing the gloves while giving the "fancy" place an hour away a free pass. I've been in the kitchen at that place... giving them gloves wouldn't make it much better. So I agree completely with you that insisting on gloves in a place that doesn't have good overall cleanliness and safety practices is a waste of time.

2 people like this

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's to stop any establishment with a decent revenue stream from simply bribing an inspector?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nothing, except that something like that "grows" and then becomes another sort of problem... % (


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given that I've seen medical professionals who seem completely oblivious to best practices for gloves, I'm pretty skeptical about "MORE GLOVES!" as a solution for food prep cleanliness issues. I mean, if you put clean gloves on with dirty hands, how clean are your gloves anyway?

(Plus based on observation, people seem to either think of gloves as part of the uniform that you put on and never change, or else as a thing to protect THEM from having to touch the icky whatever - not as a method for controlling cross contamination.)


Edited by quiet1 (log)
3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The law was unanimously repealed by the California Senate and now awaits Gov. Brown's signature.

 

http://www.latimes.com/local/politics/la-me-glove-law-20140627-story.html

 

Got an especially huge kick out of this line discussing reaction to the repeal:  "It's a coup for restaurant industry workers who petitioned in support of a repeal, arguing that hand washing is as effective as wearing gloves, without the added cost or environmental effects of what would amount to millions of discarded gloves."

 

"...millions of discarded gloves."

 

Those silly Californians.  Here you can't even get your loaf of bread and lettuce head and jug of milk in a plastic bag out there anymore.  But they had passed this "do-gooder" legislation that would have created "millions of discarded gloves."

 

I mean, c'om.  You gotta laugh at that.

 

  :laugh:

2 people like this

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.