California’s new law requiring chefs to wear latex gloves all the time while cooking had several purported benefits. Primarily, its implementation over the next few months is supposed to protect all food considered “exposed” or “ready to eat,” and reduce instances of foodbourne illnesses. Now, chefs are throwing around a handful of words to describe the law, and none are particularly flattering.
Confusing. Ineffective. Costly. Hampering. These are a few of the adjectives used by California chefs to describe their thoughts on the glove law. An article in the Los Angeles Times speaks with several kitchen heads who have gripes about the policy. A sushi chef (one who knows his way around uni) speaks about the thousands of dollars being added to his restaurant’s expenses. Executive chefs at popular LA staples describe feeling disconnected with their food, no longer able to finish off certain dishes “by touch.” Another points out the environmental hypocrisy in the new law, citing the city’s plastic bag ban. All seem to debate the actual benefits of the measures, mentioning the possibility of cross-contamination, the effectiveness of proper hand washing and a general sense of confusion with the law.
It is clear that California’s chefs have legitimate arguments, and that their reactions are not merely an aversion to forced change. Many feel that their profession is being compromised; that this unwelcome rule is hindering their abilities to perform duties adequately. With consequences looming in the form of health inspection points for those who do not follow code, it remains to be seen if the state’s chefs will be able to take a noticeable stand.
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