Oregon dismisses glove requirement for restaurant workers
July 12th, 2012
06:00 PM ET
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Last year, when Oregon Health Authority officials announced they would adopt the 2009 FDA Retail Food Code, restaurateurs suddenly faced a piece of legislation that would prohibit foodservice workers to touch prepared food with their bare hands. The gloves came off.

The no-bare-hands rule was originally supposed to go into effect on July 1, but Oregon public health officials delayed the decision because of public debate that these new safety rules were not actually safe.

The rule would have prohibited food handlers from contacting “exposed, ready-to-eat food” with their bare hands. Instead, any contact would have to be made with “suitable utensils,” including deli tissue, spatulas, tongs and single-use gloves.

Wednesday, regulators of Oregon's Foodborne Illness Prevention Program announced that “…at this time, the ‘No Bare Hand Contact’ section of new food safety rules will not be adopted.”

Among the complaints raised by food experts: gloves give foodservice handlers a false sense of cleanliness, create more plastic waste (especially since plastic bags are banned in Oregon) and add a supplementary cost for restaurateurs.

“While the regulation is being put into place to prevent norovirus contamination, the bottom line is that gloves alone will not prevent the problem without being used in combination with hand washing,” says Mindy Brashears, a professor of food safety at Texas Tech University. Norovirus is what laymen more commonly refer to as food poisoning.

“We would not want an employee to simply put on a pair of gloves after using the restroom; we also need them to wash their hands. Covering up contaminated hands is not the answer, removing the contamination is important,” she says.

Oregon-based chefs like Adam Sappington and John Gorham agree.

Sappington, the executive chef at The Country Cat Dinner House & Bar in Portland, regards the now-void ban as “crazy.”

“I got a little philosophical about the whole idea. It takes away one of the senses of cooking,” he says. “It’s more likely that you’re going to wash your hands less, and moving from hot to cold, hot to cold in gloves, things are just going to fester.”

Gorham, the chef of Toro Bravo, Tasty n Sons and Interurban in Portland, says while there is a time and a place for gloves, requiring them at all times is downright dangerous.

“As much as people are fighting against the gloves, I spend a lot of money on gloves,” says Gorham, who says his staff does wear gloves when butchering and cleaning fish and shellfish.

“Most of the gloves are made out of a rubber product and they break down with animal fat,” he says, noting plastic's potential to leach chemicals into meat.

“I’ll do what I think is best, but I’m not going to obey a law that will actually harm you,” he says.

Members of Oregon’s Foodborne Illness Prevention Program are hopeful that industry intuition, like Gorham's, will help avoid fisticuffs in the future.

In addition to dismissing the bare-hand rule, the program’s website stated it will, in the next few months, allow restaurateurs, chefs, government inspectors and interested consumers to form a workgroup and have a hand in future food safety decisions.

soundoff (194 Responses)
  1. Sideie

    Sorry, but I prefer to see a person handling my food wearing gloves. Subway now makes it a habit for its employees to wear gloves on the food line, and that's the way it should be. Cheap, plastic gloves are a dime a dozen. I think some of you are confusing the cheap plastic harmless gloves for thick latex ones. No one needs to wear those thick gloves, but the really thin, dispensable ones are perfect. Keep them on, and when you go to the restroom, ring someone up, etc, take them off. Then, wash your hands and put on a new pair. Simple. The thought of someone touching my food with their bare hands turns me off, big time.

    July 18, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • Susie

      Those thin gloves are not that sanitary. I work in the restaurant business. There is no substitute for handwashing. Those little gloves can be exposed to chemicals or food debris which is then transferred to the product. There is also the unknown about chemicals which could leech from the actual glove into the food. We are already dealing with that issue with our bottled water industry. Plastic gloves do nothing more than to provide a false sense of security while increasing the risks of cross contamination.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  2. Marti

    I prefer my food handlers to all have OCD, and their hands to be dry out nubs by the end of the day from excessive washing. However, I also recognize that every time I try a new restaurant I have no idea what to expect. Frankly, you eat bugs why you sleep, there is x amount of feces in mass produced products, and people show up to work sick because they need the money. Best to try not to think about it too much.

    I support this move largely because it probably made little to no difference anyways.

    July 17, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  3. COMA

    I was in a Subway a few weeks ago. I witnessed the sandwich maker make the sandwich of the person in line of front of me and then proceed to ring her up, take her cash, and give her change. All with the same gloves on, he then came over to make my sandwich. I had to ask him to change gloves before making my sandwich. It just makes you wonder how often things like this happed but her never see it.

    July 17, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  4. JellyBean

    I was in a McDs restroom many moons ago. A gloved McWorker came in, used the bathroom and exited back to work with the gloves on. Gag-o-rama.

    July 17, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  5. AWaB

    I remember a new dishwasher that got upset with me about not wearing gloves. I explained that if you scratch yourself with gloves or without that you'll still be contaminating everything that you touch afterward. I then showed him how when you get something on your hands that you'll immediately know that it's there. With the gloves, he had no idea. I then showed him to the nearest sink and demonstrated the proper way to wash your hands (around the fingernails, too!). I never saw him wear gloves again but I saw him at that sink at least as often as I was.

    Gloves are a health hazard as I've seen many others on this list say. You won't realize that you have raw chicken on your hand with gloves on. You'll know immediately with bare hands! You should consider yourself a hero when you're washing your hands 50+ times a shift b/c you're probably saving someone's life!

    July 17, 2012 at 7:04 am |
    • Susie

      You are so right! I am frustrated at my new job because they use tongs and plastic gloves for all food prep. It is maddening to know that if the cooks used proper hand washing procedures that the food going out the door would be much healthier than with the gloves and tongs. A false sense of security is not the same as safe practices.

      January 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
  6. bruce

    I stopped in a sandwich shop and happened to be sitting where I could see what was going on behind the counter. They guy who was preparing my sandwich stopped suddenly to sweep the floor in his area. He used a broom and a dustpan and then used his hand to shove the rest of the dirt, etc into the dustpan and then he emptied it into the trash and then went back to finishing my sandwich without washing his hands. He saw me get out of my seat and while approaching him, he immediately began to apologize. He told me "We get another sandwich from cooler"!!! The manage came over, wondering what the commotion was and apologized over and over, offering me other choices. I told the manager that I wasn't about to eat ANYTHING in this place.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:54 am |
    • huh?

      Why would he just stop making your sandwich to sweep??

      July 17, 2012 at 9:48 am |
      • bruce

        I have often wondered that myself. My only guess is that the manager was nearby and he had already been warned about keeping his area clean.

        July 17, 2012 at 9:59 am |
        • bruce

          And actually that is what got my attention. I wasn't spying on him or anything but I thought it was strange that in the middle of making my sandwich, he suddenly picked up a broom.

          July 17, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  7. Gary

    Cross contamination easily occurs with either without specific enforced staff guidelines. However, much easier to keep your hands clean than the gloves. .

    July 16, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  8. derek

    As someone who (starting at age 14) spent decades in the industry, front of house, back of house and management ($3.5 million annual revenue in mid-90's) I hate gloves for routine use. The most significant sanitation problems is the lack of sensation. When hands feel dirty, they are dirty and you can act on that feedback to wash them. The gloves prevent you from feeling the blood, grime and general debris that happens in kitchens. Since your hands don't feel dirty, you don't change your gloves until a break or something else requires the change. Without gloves, you would have washed 3 or 4 times more often. I know when I ran a broiler for a large chain, I would wash my hands 10-20 times a shift. With gloves, I might have changed a few times.

    Plus, no decent cook or chef can prepare food without feeling it. Gloves prevent one of the major feedback sources.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  9. Kevin

    I agree the gloves provide a FALSE sense of security. There is no substitue for proper hand washing and trained preparers. Touching your hair with gloves on does not help anyone.

    July 16, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  10. BN

    Funny... I got the worst food poisoning of my life from Toro Bravo.

    July 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  11. Scotish Ball Handler

    I've read where the average human scratches/rubs their nose/face an average 3 times per minute (not to mention the other things they are touching, and I'm not just talking body parts). If you are a germaphobe, stay at home. Otherwise, if you are a healthy person, you are bolstering your immunity.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  12. CB

    To those of you pushing for glove usage have any of you tried to cook with them on? Have any of you tried to do that while wearing them for hours? Have any of you cooked with them and had them melt into your skin? If not then please go do that before you comment any further. I have done all of the above (and I have a few scars from the melting due to splatters). The other problem is latex allergies. If a restaurant wants to avoid the chance of activating a latex allergy they have to go with vinyl (poor fitting usually) or Nitrile (more expensive) glove options or risk someone having an allergy attack in their dining room. Get real people.

    July 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  13. kcmama

    This is a real dilemma. It's been proven that surgeons, who scrub their hands with an antibacterial soap for several minutes and a brush often have staph bacteria growing under nails, etc.
    It's always bothered me that chefs will handle uncooked food, arranging it on a plate with bare hands. They touch all sorts of things in the kitchen, then salad or something that is then brought for me to eat. They may wash their hands, but I know they don't scrub like surgeons do.

    July 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  14. JeramieH

    Since it appears that nobody actually read the article, I'll reiterate: gloves aren't the only solution. Quote, "suitable utensils, including deli tissue, spatulas, tongs and single-use gloves".

    July 16, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Charles

      You reiteration is irrelevant. If the gloves/tongs/single use anything is dirty, the effect is the same- food poisioning. Go to a fast food restaurant that serves sandwiches and watch them operate the microwave, oven... everything, and then make you a sandwich wearing the same gloves. If the norovirus eminated from human hands, these items would be a good idea. It doesn't and they aren't. Proper foodhandling techniques and handwashing must be used.

      July 16, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  15. stevefl00d

    Gloves create more issues than they solve in many cases. Not only is there a false sense of sanitation for the customer, but the employee may think the gloves are cleaner than they are when they switch to touching other surfaces. Unless they are well trained in food safety procedures, they may not know when to toss the gloves. They add to the cost of daily operations when used properly, and this may lead conservative employees to think they're doing the business a service by reusing as often as possible.
    Gloves should not be worn in the hand that wields a knife, as the loss of grip to the knife can result in injuries. Also, the glove can be nicked and pieces can end up in the food, especially when "one size fits all" gloves are used. They can also be melted when exposed to heat, and can aid in cross contamination from meats to vegetables.
    Latex allergies also come into play. Powdered gloves increase the risk for allergic customers.
    Gloves sometimes take the place of proper sanitary food handling training in restaurants, figuring that the policy of wearing gloves absolves the restaurant of any liability for food contamination, which couldn't be further from the truth. I'd rather see someone with clean bare hands prepare my food, than someone wearing gloves.

    July 16, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  16. wilder125@gmail.com

    Several tourists respond by dismissing all restaurants in Oregon

    July 16, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  17. Loyal Northern Democrat

    I always wear gloves when I am making "secret sauce" for you to eat.

    July 16, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  18. Loyal Northern Democrat

    When I worked in a restaurant I was constantly washing and cleaning. However, when some drunk scum, or someone trying to impress his girl gave me a hard time, I had no problem putting pubes on his burgers. Also, I would take crickets and put them on the gril before the hamburger went on. I never had a complaint.

    July 16, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • orange mandarin shoe

      Wow loyal northern democrat. I now have an aversion to all things democrat, northern and loyal.

      July 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  19. aS

    tAt my Subway Sandwich shop You put on new gloves with each new sandwich You remove the gloves if you handel money then wash your hands and put on a new set of gloves I would not want anyone to reach into the cookie warmer and bare hand someone a cookie

    July 16, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • stevefl00d

      the important thing is the gloves need to come off when touching something other than food. Even while making the same sandwich, if they open a refrigerator door after touching a deli meat, then the handle is contaminated. Then they touch food again, then they touch the handle... some fridge doors at delis are disgusting breeding grounds for bacteria and are vessels for cross-contamination.
      I always taught employees to remove one glove at a time, so one hand would be free to open a door or grab a knife, then place another glove on before continuing to touch food.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  20. Judy

    Gloves don't guarantee cleanliness. Haven't you seen restaurant workers handle cash with gloved hands and then handle food?

    July 15, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Food Handler

      That isn't a glove problem. It's the employee not following procedure.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • stevefl00d

      Even in instances where employees are not removing gloves when touching money, sometimes they continue to touch other things, like dirty utensils and fridge door handles, and simply pass around the contamination to other surfaces. Drives me nuts... the gloves are to protect the customer's food from you, not the other way around.

      July 16, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  21. bullsballs

    People that use anti-bacteria gel have gotten warts which are a virus, because they killed the beneficial bacteria that kills the wart virus...
    Washing with soap and water is all that is needed, gloves add a false sense of safety, I prefer bare hands to contaminated gloves any day.

    July 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • TJ

      Bottom line... both hand-washing AND single-use gloves should be required by law, and failure to do so punishable with high fines and jail time for both the worker AND the business owner.

      Hey, you want to eat someone else's p00p at home, that's YOUR business. But when I'm out, I expect the greatest care to be taken where food prep is concerned... which is why I rarely go out for food. Simply put, it's just not worth it.

      July 15, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
      • Kevin H

        I find some of these comments interesting because many of them come from people who've never worked in food service. The gloves actually lead to some of the biggest issues food service workers face. Workers must wash their hands – and the gloves won't save that because the gloves stay on the hands – no matter what. Why? Because the owner will make them keep the gloves on unless someone is watching them – and that doesn't happen. It's far better to use instant hand solutions and anti-bacterial, anti-germicidal soap and water. Making sure hands don't have exposed open wounds is also a concern because of various diseases that can be spread. But a far bigger issue is the way the food is stored and managed. Fresh foods spoil very quickly and cleaning of surfaces regularly isn't always there. Also the floors and drains can back up creating huge problems that impact us directly. The reality is that food sanitation auditors can't do their jobs – in Dallas, Texas if a restaurant is inspected one or two times every couple of years you're very lucky. It's worse in other places because the Dallas area is still fairly wealthy so the politics can play out and money can get shifted around. Not so everywhere.

        July 15, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
      • stevefl00d

        I agree with Kevin, as I have managed restaurants/cafes for over 13 years. The only time gloves should be mandatory are when you have an open wound on your hand. A restaurant with a visible sink so patrons can see employees regularly and constantly washing their hands has a better sanitary appearance to the customer than one who merely requires gloves at all times.

        July 16, 2012 at 8:41 am |
        • Skunkwerks

          "The only time gloves should be mandatory are when you have an open wound on your hand."

          Hi, I have a cut on my hand I'm never showing you Not because I'm a jerk, mind you, but I frankly just don't think it's very relevant to my ability to perform my job.

          July 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      I agree with TJ. Both handwashing and gloves should be required. The thing is the gloves need to be changed regularly. Also, as many people are alergic to latex, they pretty much have to standardize with vinyl gloves. The problem is vinyl gloves do not fit as well as latex, and things just don't feel right while wearing them.

      July 15, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  22. Maria B.

    Um. Plastic bags are not banned in Oregon. They are banned only in Portland. Corvallis just passed a citywide ban, which will be implemented over the next six months to a year.

    Anyway, hopefully this ruling will allow restaurant owners to determine their own rules for glove use, depending on the risks and benefits per individual situation.

    July 15, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  23. Wastrel

    The mashing-together action shown in the picture is not good food preparation, gloves or not.

    July 15, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • TJ

      Dork! That image is a STOCK image... just a depiction, nothing more. Look at the upper-right corner – that's the photo collection the image was purchased from.

      July 15, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Stock photo, not shot at any of the restaurants concerned, so far as I know.

      July 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • stevefl00d

      Rather than mashing the spring mix, I think the employee is either plating the salad with their hands, or fluffing the pile to give it elevation and to keep it from falling off the plate.

      July 16, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Wastrel

      I stand by what I said, regardless of where the image came from or what the person is really doing. Full-contact touching of food, as shown in the picture, is not good food preparation. What is wrong with you people? Are you really disagreeing with that? Do you think that bringing up irrelevancies contradicts me?

      July 16, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  24. Zargoth

    Hand washing needs to be nearly constant, gloves need to be changed frequently- all surfaces must be clean, which means clean & dry, & that includes the gloves. I am a classically-trained professional chef with 20 years experience, & that's the only way.

    Oh, & by the way, the time to not wear gloves is when working the saute or grill stations where open flames & intense heat could result in a glove melting around someone's hand...

    July 15, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • TJ

      You are correct, and one needn't be a chef to understand the good sense about what you stated. Further, when sauteing food, or frying – the food is receiving a treatment that kills most if not all (bar one) bacteria. After the food is cooked however, gloves should be worn.

      * There is one bacteria (along with certain prions), which I can't remember the name of, off the top of my head, that do not "die" until a temp of 273ºF is attained.

      July 15, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
      • chillout

        I love how food service workers think that they are pros because they took a safe food handelers course. I cooked for ten years and all I have to say is; washing hands in a kitchen should be a habit. when I was a cook I always wore gloves because I don't like to touch food or they can help your hands withstand higher heat. I've never seen a glove melt on someones hand. Quit tryin' to sound smart, shut your mouth and wash your hands.

        July 16, 2012 at 5:45 am |
        • stevefl00d

          Latex gloves may prevent a steam burn, but coming into direct contact with hot metal, such as a cast iron pan or oven rack, they will most certainly melt. I haven't seen it much myself (because most cooks handling hot materials tend to be paying close attention), but it has happened.

          July 16, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  25. MightyMoo

    Seriously, just wash your hands before preparing food. That's all that is needed along with keeping sick people away from the food who are employees. For thousands of years humans have prepared food in much less sanitary conditions and we're still here as a species. Hell we might have been healthier for it since we may have had a resistance to some of the buggies that were on our food in the older days. Now that we're sanitizing everything we might become less resilient to those buggies.

    July 15, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  26. janem

    Remind me never to visit Oregon!

    If you do not have a choice an have to go there say for work – buy food that is already sealed in a bag from outside their state.

    July 15, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • ksc

      If they scratch their head or sneeze into the glove they do not help anyway, I have seen both of these by food workers. What they need is a class on food safe prep before working.

      July 15, 2012 at 7:51 am |
      • ksc

        And it is getting old having a dirty wine glass served to me. Imagine the germs!!!!

        July 15, 2012 at 7:55 am |
      • Wastrel

        "What they need is a class on food safe prep before working." I'm sure they're required to take one. It's required in my state. And in it they are told to use gloves, but the reasons are not explained as well as some of the comments in this article. Gloves can be contaminated as easily as hands, and the proper procedure is 1. Do something 2. Take off gloves 3. Wash hands 4. Put on new gloves. Omitting steps 2 and 4 makes no difference. If you hands are uncontaminated, it is safe.

        July 15, 2012 at 10:33 am |
        • Magdeline

          Oregon requires food service handling cards, which require training to receive.

          July 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Brian

      Good don't visit them, stay in your little sanitized home and never come out. Thanks the world appreciates it.

      July 16, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  27. fourgotten

    I'm strongly of the opinion that, we need greater scrutiny for those who USE gloves when preparing food. I've seen many instances of food handlers going from a till to putting on gloves and prepping food without washing. Disgusting!
    When I worked in food service we did no use gloves... but we DID wash our hands frequently. Anytime contamination could occur we washed. It was part of the job.
    I'd like to see more stringent regulations on the use of gloves in food service.

    July 15, 2012 at 1:05 am |
  28. Katie

    I have to say I agree with gloveless cooking/food handling. People forget why they are wearing gloves and start thinking it has something to do with protecting their hands instead of protecting the food. Plus, if you use the gloves properly – ie – CHANGING them all the time – that's a lot of trash you end up with. How hard is it to wash your hands? Wear a glove if you have a cut or open sore, but either change it or wash it just as you would wash your own hands. I feel the same way with day cares. When I was looking for a place for my son, I came upon a one that proudly told me they made sure they wore gloves when changing diapers. I asked if they made sure they changed gloves between diaper changes (of multiple children) or if they removed or washed their gloves before touching the children's clothing or skin. I got blank looks and I decided that wasn't the place for me.

    July 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  29. The Chef

    Just remember you can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but you can't pick your friends nose.

    July 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Chris R

      That depends entirely on the friend.

      July 14, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
      • TJ

        Remind me to never be friends with with you Chris!

        July 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Josie

      You can pick your nose, you can pick your friend's nose, but you can't pick your friends and wipe them on the couch!

      July 15, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  30. PanzersMom

    I have worked in a variety of restaurants doing everything from utility to pastry chef. I made sure my hands were clean at all times. If I was changing tasks, I washed. If I finished cleaning, I washed. I am nauseated when I see workers in nasty looking gloves touch meat, then vegetables, then utensils with those gloves all because they are required. I was yelled at by a "supervisor" while working a concession for my son's school because I didn't have on gloves. I had probably washed my hands four times in the last 10 minutes, while the dishwasher was shown up as an example. I tried to say that the guy was constantly trying to help by touching the food I was preparing. It took all my energy to get this guy to stop trying to help!! I was told it was OK because he was wearing gloves. Blech! Those gloves don't get changed. I watched on person wear the same gloves all shift. No matter how many times I said they should get new ones, they didn't see the big deal. This is why I eat at home.

    July 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  31. JeffinIL

    Don't eat out, then you have no one to blame for food borne illnesses but yourself.
    I'll risk it.

    July 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  32. xfiler93

    they should all wear gloves. who knows what is on their hands when they prepare your food. YUCK!

    July 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Keith

      Did your Mom wear gloves in her Kitchen?

      July 14, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Chris R

      The problem generally isn't the workers having 'dirty' hands from going to the bathroom but cross contamination between food. Like going from handling raw chicken to mixing a salad handling a plate. A glove will *not* fix that problem in anyway. In fact, you need to change the gloves frequently in order for them to be effective in cutting down on contamination. Effective education, training, and supervision in hand washing is as, if not more, effective when it comes to preventing cross contamination.

      Also, you are far more likely to get food poisoning from a meal prepared at home than at a restaurant in an area with an effective health department.

      July 14, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • whiskeynick

      those hands touch the outsides of the gloves, when putting them on, I'm sorry, but gloves are NOT cleaner, only regular, and PROPER hand-washing is clean. Glove usage creates a moist humid environment for bacteria to proliferate. As a lifelong food-service professional, I can tell you, gloves do not protect you, hand-washing does.

      July 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  33. tildejac

    Why are there not sinks in food areas where people can be monitored by a supervisor to wash their hands when they enter a food prep area. Why are people just warned to wash their hands in the bathrooms? I have gotten sick several times after eating in fast food places, and I have never seen a sink where customers or supervisors can observe employees washing their hands when entering a food prep area.

    July 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • fourgotten

      Every kitchen in which I have ever worked had a sink next to each entrance. If you left the kitchen, you washed when you re-entered. When you use the lavatory, you wash in the lavatory and again when you enter the kitchen.
      I haven't seen any kitchen that didn't have at least three sinks.
      Sadly, management (especially in the fast food industry) does not always enforce hand washing regimens. Personally, were I running a kitchen, the first time that I saw someone fail to wash when they entered the kitchen or between cooked/uncooked food handling, I would explain that they've used up their freebie and that they will wash each and every time (and for the proscribed duration) if they value their job.

      July 15, 2012 at 1:10 am |
  34. rfutrell1

    Someone with gloves on can easily pick their nose or scratch their backside, take out the trash then prepare your sandwich, You have know Idea where those gloves have been, unless you personally see them take a new pair out of the package, put them on and then prepare your food. and even if you do, you don't know if the person that handled those ingredients prior to the person that prepared your food was wearing clean gloves. So does it really matter?

    July 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  35. LMR

    I don't trust anyone to wash their hands...all food workers should wear gloves.

    July 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Uh – and what sort of protection do you think the gloves offer? Magic? If employees can't be troubled to wash their hands in the first place, I guarantee they will not be practicing sanitary procedure anywhere else, and those gloves will simply be the vehicle for filth to spread itself throughout the kitchen.

      July 15, 2012 at 4:00 am |
  36. crk

    I actually prefer that gloves are not used, unless there is a cut or something on the person's hands. If you're wearing gloves, they will contact many surfaces, picking up all kinds of junk, that you won't feel/notice BECAUSE of the gloves. I used to work at a place where we sometimes wore white gloves, and we were constantly changing them because of all the stuff we got on them. Coffee, sauce, soup, whatever, but I'm sure there were lots of unseen things that were present as well.

    July 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  37. Bobby

    I've been a food service professional my entire career. Washing hands after every kitchen task is required in my commercial kitchen. There is no substitute for washing hands properly. We wear gloves, when working with raw meat, poultry and fish. When working with the public, my staff wears gloves 100% of the time.

    July 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  38. carol

    Be real! what's next? Anyone who is preparing food for anyone except themselves (ie: family, friends, etc) bears the same responsibility for sanitation and proper food handling – that's just being responsible. Yeah, right – so I'm going to keep a supply of those (can't use latex because some people are latex-intolerant) gloves handy every time I touch any food just in case someone else might be eating it? Hmm... next the food markets will have to enforce an 'all shoppers will wear gloves upon entering' rule because they might touch something without purchasing it? Go Oregon!

    July 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  39. Corkscrew Annie

    I once had a health inspector, during our bi-monthly inspection, comment on how much my kitchen staff was washing their hands. Her comment, incredibly, was "Wow. Why are they washing their hands so much. Your water bills must be pretty high." Made me very proud of my staff, as they understood and lived safe food handling. Not so proud of the inspector. . . .

    July 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Wastrel

      If you had reported that moron you would have failed the next inspection. Sad but true.

      July 15, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  40. former kitchen dude

    Wow, I've seen these gloves and was starting to see them used back in the 90's... Here's a thought- you didn't wash after using the toilet, you put on these gloves,your hands sweat, your gloves are filled with a toilet saline solution which you accidentally skewer with the kabobs you are carefully placing on the plate. Then inadvertently seasoning it with said toilet saline solution. Time to drop the gloves...

    July 14, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  41. TampaMel

    Where did all this paranoia come from? I am 65 and grew up in an era when no one wore gloves in food services. Yes, people got sick from contaminated food but, today with gloves, people still get sick from contaminated food. WHAT HAS CHANGED? Now we have those antibacterial dispensing bottles everywhere. This is nuts, are face masks next and then whole bosy suits? Get a grip people, germs exists and the more you protect yourself the more you set your body up for a real problem. I just came back from Europe and they are into the same germ paranoia there. The insanity is spreading.

    July 14, 2012 at 4:06 am |
    • Aaronski

      Quote – "Now we have those antibacterial dispensing bottles everywhere"
      I will not touch one of those filthy things.

      July 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
      • crk

        And they don't even kill viruses – just bacteria! When you consider that the norovirus (mentioned in the article as a cause for food poisoning) and the cold and flu viruses are not affected by those gels, I wonder if we're doing m ore harm than good with them.

        July 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • kcmama

      I'm 65 too, and I know that there wasn't so much feed lot beef ending up on our plates as now. Same with chickens and pigs. More were allowed to have space and walk around. With the present way, cattle are fed grain which makes them sick, then give lots of antibiotics, which the bacteria become immune to. They are crowded together so that waste from one is all over the others. Meat inspection is much more "sketchy" today that in years past. END RESULT: more bacteria on the meat (or in milk) than before and these bacteria are more virulent.

      July 16, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  42. Maggie McDuh

    Kitchens are cleaned periodically during the business cycle with industial grade sanitizers that sting your skin and will actually peel your hands if you leave it on your skin. Now imagine a worker touching a freshly sanitized surface that is still wet enough to have puddles, thinking it's water from the lettuce, with gloved hands then mixing your salad with those same gloved hands. Very clean, but it could still send you to the hospital.

    July 14, 2012 at 2:53 am |
    • SixDegrees

      What planet do you live on? I have never seen or heard of the use of such caustic chemicals in kitchens. Maybe your kitchen should take a short break to read the labels and learn about this thing called "dilution".

      July 15, 2012 at 4:04 am |
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