Chefs wear latex gloves for various reasons — handling raw meat, protecting healing cuts or keeping hands from being damp for too long. Though necessary, it doesn't mean it's their favorite part of the job. But now a new law in California is mandating that chefs use gloves all the time while cooking, a change that will be enforced, somehow, over the next six months.
The glove rule is intended to reduce the instance of food-bourne illness by protecting all food considered "exposed" or "ready to eat." Gloves aren't so bad when you have 10 pounds of chicken thighs to rub marinade into, or three dozen jalapeños to hollow out. But to keep those hand-rubbers on all day would really suck. Plus, didn't they just ban styrofoam containers and are now mandating half a dozen glove changes every day?
The LA Times reports that chefs' main gripe is not being able to handle food the same way, citing uh… "reduced sensation," if you will. If you're used to prepping something a certain way, wearing gloves may require you to adjust your technique. Rice sticks to gloves, not fingers, for instance, making it significantly harder to churn out sushi. But more importantly, gloves don't prevent cross-contamination. They just make it slipperier to cross-contaminate while simultaneously pissing off the chefs who make our food. But, hey, we're not in charge of the California Retail Food Code.
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