Bartenders Pouring Political Pressure On Law Requiring Rubber Gloves

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The gloves are off for California bartenders, bakers and sushi chefs and they hope to keep it that way as state lawmakers attempt to pass an emergency measure repealing a new state law that requires those who handle raw food to wear disposable gloves and change them between transactions.

At 15 Romolo in San Francisco’s North Beach, General Manager Aaron Smith told KCBS that the new food safety law would be a time and money-wasting disaster.

“The bartender is going to have to put on a pair of gloves before they squeeze that lemon or lime into your drink. Then their going to have to take off the gloves to ring you in and then wash their hands and put on a new pair of gloves before they make another drink for the guy next to you,” he said.

Gloves Off For California's Food Handlers, For Now

Smith, who’s also the executive director of the United States Bartender’s Guild, is spearheading the campaign to repeal the law.  Lawmakers didn’t realize it would force bartenders to put on a new pair of disposable gloves every time they handle an olive, salt, or even ice cubes.

“It’s a little strange,” Smith said. “Nobody wants to eat in a doctor’s office. It makes if feel a little more industrial—a little more institutional.”

The law took effect January 1, but enforcement won’t begin until June. The goal is to repeal it before then.

Sacramento Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan is introducing an emergency measure that doesn’t hamper bartenders, sushi chefs and produce sellers, who say the law would not appreciably improve food safety.

More from Doug Sovern
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