Will Sacramento's culinary stars actually have to wear rubber gloves?

Your next handcrafted cocktail might be a cocktail crafted by hands in gloves, according to a new food safety law. How romantic.

An update to the California Retail Food Code bans bare hands in food preparation. That means cooks and bartenders alike need to wear glovesor use utensilsto separate their germs from customers’ meals.

The law went into effect Jan. 1, and the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department (EMD) is ready.

“We are going to be doing intense education out in the field during routine inspectionsone-on-one explanations of the new law,” said Zarha Ruiz, supervising environmental specialist at EMD.

Every food retail facility should get one or two visits from the EMD before enforcement begins on July 1. Penalties for violations will depend on the circumstance, Ruiz said.

As for alternatives, Ruiz mentioned an “array of gloves” made of different materials, as well as wax paper, toothpicks and tweezers. And while it’s reasonable to picture your next burrito being wrapped by someone wearing gloves, it’s impossible to imagine anything but bare hands rolling out sushi.

“There will be more challenging circumstances,” Ruiz said. “Like anyone who views food as an art form and wants to feel the food and really get into it.”  

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