After California’s new regulation restricting food workers from handling ready-to-eat foods with their bare hands sparked an outcry, state legislators are trying to take it back.
The bill to repeal Section 113961 of the Health and Safety Code unanimously passed the Assembly’s Health Committee on Tuesday and will now go to a floor vote.
“A vast number of our local restaurants and bars raised serious concerns with this prohibition after the passage of this new law,” said Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) during the committee hearing.
He cited reports of inconsistent implementation of the exemption process, the expense of purchasing and disposing of thousands of gloves, and questions about gloves offering a false sense of security and increasing the risk of cross-contamination.
“If these concerns were raised before we passed AB 1252, the bare hand contact provision would have been eliminated from the bill,” Pan said.
The bill to repeal the controversial provision “resets this discussion” by replacing the prohibition on bare hand contact with food to the previous language which directed employees to “minimize” contact.
California health officials were planning to give restaurants six months to comply with the new rule before handing out violations.
The “no bare hands” rule is included in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s model food code and has been adopted by many other states.© Food Safety News