Restaurant and bar owners in Los Angeles and the entirety of California are abuzz over a new rule requiring anyone who handles food to put on gloves during preparation. The measure became state law this year in a bid to reduce customers’ exposure to foodborne illness. Bartenders are included within the ruling due to the fact that they must handle garnishes that would technically be classified as food.
But some wonder about the efficacy of this rule. A report in LA Weekly, for instance, points out that the rule doesn’t address perhaps the biggest hazard to foodborne illness: the supply chain. They point to a wide array of recalls and stories that all have their genesis with an issue that popped up during the production or shipment of a product. Such stories typically have scant mention of illnesses derived from a restaurant food handler unsafely touching the food.
The article is quick to point out that illnesses caused by a restaurant worker are still a possibility but that this could be attributable to workers coming in to work sick because they’re worried about the repercussions of taking the day off.
No matter where you stand on the issue, it’s important to understand that this is more complex than simply putting on some gloves. That’s just one precaution of many. Keeping consumers safe is a lengthy process that requires vigilance on the part of everyone involved with the food supply chain.