California Sushi Chefs Can No Longer Use Bare Hands

Nor can any other handler of food in the great state of

Sushi chefs who take their art and craft seriously aren’t
pleased, reports L.A.

A great sushi chef in another state once complained to me about
a health code violation he’d received for making sushi without
gloves. “Making sushi with gloves is like making love with a
condom,” he said. “It just isn’t the same.” Well, as of Jan. 1,
California’s law has changed so that there can no longer be any
bare-handed contact with foods that won’t be cooked. That means
baked goods, salads – and yes, even sushi….

It’s hard to imagine the sushi masters at our finest Japanese
restaurants adhering to this rule. So much of sushi preparation is
about feel and tactile sense memory. 

There is a way for restaurants to seek an exemption for specific
situations, but it’s unlikely that the exemption covers “thousands
of years of tradition.” 

If you are washing fruits and vegetables, you
are in the clear. However, if you are a bartender adding an olive
to a martini or some celery to a bloody mary in the state of
California, if you don’t don gloves or use tongs, you are now
breaking the law, according to this
report from the California Restaurant Association

Foodservice workers must wear disposable gloves or use utensils
to handle ready-to-eat foods…..A ready-to-eat is food is in a
form that is edible without requiring additional preparation to be
safe to eat. These foods include, but are not limited to:

  • any food that will not be thoroughly cooked or reheated (165F)
    before it is served
  • any food item that has already been cooked
  • prepared fresh fruits and vegetables served raw or cooked
  • salads and salad ingredients
  • fruit or vegetables for mixed drinks
  • garnishes, such as lettuce, parsley, lemon wedges, pickles
  • cold meats and sandwiches
  • raw sushi fish and sushi rice
  • bread, toast, rolls, baked goods.

For what it’s worth, reports the Centers
for Disease Control in 2012

  • The overall incidence of infection with six key foodborne
    pathogens (Campylobacter, Listeria,Salmonella, STEC
    O157, Vibrio, and Yersinia) was 22% lower [than a
    three-year control period in late ’90s].

from Hit & Run

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