Repeal of California Glove Law Triggers Food Handling Tips

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The repeal of a controversial law means that chefs in California will no longer be beholden to the mandatory usage of gloves during food preparation. The time is ripe (even if the food is not) for the Los Angeles personal injury attorneys of the Nagelberg Bernard Law Group to offer insights on foodborne illness prevention.

It’s not just a day of stomach problems we have to worry about; in some cases, foodborne illness can even be deadly.

Earlier this year, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed a bill that was met with widespread controversy throughout California. That measure attempted to improve food safety by requiring all restaurant chefs and food handlers to adorn gloves in the course of cooking.

But the law had effects that were not intended, as explored by the Los Angeles Times in a January 14 article headlined "Under new food safety law, bartenders have to wear gloves." Bartenders and sushi chefs were the most vocal in their dissent, with the former feeling that their handling of simple garnishes should not make them privy to such an overarching rule, while the latter grew concerned about how gloves could hinder their jobs by inhibiting the sensitive touch required to make sushi properly.

That’s not to mention the fact that not everyone was so sure that safety would even be improved. After all, not replacing gloves regularly could be just as dangerous as not washing hands regularly, as bacteria would simply be on the gloves rather than human skin.

Cut to Saturday, June 28, when the Governor signed a measure that repealed the law before it had a chance to take effect. The LA Times explored the leadup to the about-face and its fallout in a June 30 article entitled “Governor signs repeal of food-safety law requiring gloves.”

In the wake of these developments, the Nagelberg Bernard Law Group is offering important tips on food preparation. Larry Nagelberg, who has been helping Los Angeles and Southern California citizens in various personal injury legal matters for three decades, had this to say:

“The foodborne illness law that was just repealed may have been misguided,” said Mr. Nagelberg, “but its intentions were pure. Preventing foodborne illness is an honorable goal that anyone serving food, whether they be a restaurant chef or someone simply serving dinner to their family, should strive for. It’s not just a day of stomach problems we have to worry about; in some cases, foodborne illness can even be deadly.”

With that in mind, anyone preparing food should keep the following advice in mind:

•Give the Soap a Hand – Wash hands after handling any type of raw food or after coming into contact with a surface that itself has contacted raw food.

•Surface Service – Once any type of raw meat has been set out on a plate or a counter, that surface must be thoroughly scrubbed before a ready-to-eat product is placed on it. This reduces the cross-contamination threat that would otherwise be present.

•Bar to Entry – Bartenders were among those to cast aspersions on the law, but the measure at least got people talking about a serious issue: drink safety. Drink garnishes left out on a bar tend to stay out for a long time, allowing bacteria to fester. Such garnishes should be switched out daily and kept away from food that could spoil.

•A Glove Above – Some chefs will continue to wear gloves even if doing so isn’t mandatory. If this is the case, then be sure to put on different gloves any time raw meat is handled, similar to how one would wash their hands after touching the same.

•Dinner for Two (Hours) – As a general rule of thumb, perishable food should not be left out for more than a couple of hours. This rule is particularly important to those people bringing food to an outdoor summer barbecue or picnic.

•Total Recall – Ideally, food products would never be privy to the types of contaminants (Salmonella, listeria monocytogenes, etc.) that get people sick. To make sure they’re not using ingredients that are at risk in some way, professional and amateur chefs should monitor recalls on the Food and Drug Administration and FSIS websites.

The Nagelberg Bernard Law Group represents the victims of numerous types of personal injury situations, including automobile accidents, dog bites, slip and fall incidents, defective products, and wrongful death in any of the above. They have guided injured persons through the legal process for more than 30 years and their efforts have helped secure more than $400 million in compensation for clients. Visit the Nagelberg Bernard Law Group at their Los Angeles personal injury website for more information and a free consultation.

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Larry Nagelberg
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