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Bartenders: Would You Like Latex With Your Lime? Glove Law Impacts Drinks, Food

by Bill Disbrow
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Mojitos require the use of several "ready-to-eat" food items. (Sophia's Thai Kitchen)

Mojitos require the use of several “ready-to-eat” food items. (Sophia’s Thai Kitchen)

DAVIS (CBS SF) – A newly-implemented California law has chefs steaming over protocol requiring them to wear gloves while preparing certain foods, but it could shake things up even more for bartenders in the Golden State.

The California Retail Food Code was altered as of January 1st to require disposable gloves or utensils to be used in the handling of all “ready-to-eat” foods – items that won’t be cooked or reheated after handling – such as fresh produce and sushi. The implementation has been a pain in many kitchens, and could cause even more logistical problems for mixologists, who handle fruit, herbs, ice and other ingredients and garnishes that would fall under the law.

“Technically speaking, these rules do apply to bars,” Angelica Pappas, a spokeswoman for the California Restaurant Association, told the Los Angeles Times.

Further complicating the issue for bartenders says Jen Naruo-Stefanac, a manager at Sophia’s Thai Bar in Davis, is the fact that bartenders are constantly touching both drinks and money, making it essentially impossible to stay completely germ-free.

“You are constantly washing your hands or having them touching ice and juice…it will just get into the gloves anyway,” said Naruo-Stefanac. “It would just be a huge pain.”

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health told the Times that the program has started as a “soft” rollout, meaning points will not be deducted from a health score for six months. Food handlers wearing gloves will be issued a warning in the interim.

As for bartenders, more of a heads-up may be needed. The three bar managers who spoke to CBS San Francisco editors had never heard of the new requirement.

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