TGPR Food Issues Group Meets With Sushi Chef Institute to Discuss California Glove Law



TGPR Food Issues Group Meets With Sushi Chef Institute to Discuss California Glove Law

TGPR’s Food Issues Group partner and food safety expert Jeff Nelken was asked to set up a sushi demonstration at the Sushi Chef Institute in Torrance, CA.  It’s part of our outreach to support the Health Department’s education on the fine points of sushi and evaluate the use of gloves when preparing sushi. Our long working relationship with them allows for an exchange of ideas and the ability to help restaurant owners navigate sensitive food safety issues.  The demonstration helped the Los Angeles Health Department see the distinctive way sushi is prepared. Jeff (left) met with James Dragan, Chief Environmental Specialist, Consultative Services, during this positive and supportive educational session.

Chefs, food workers and bartenders are now required to wear gloves for doing everything from making sushi to putting olives in your cocktails. When the new glove law passed January 1, sushi chefs were up in arms (and gloves) because they claim that the law interferes with their thousand of years of preparing sushi with bare hands. In response to many complaints, Dr. Richard Pan, chair of Assembly Health Committee (D-Sacramento), announced emergency legislation (AB 2130) that would repeal the section of the Retail Food Code prohibiting bare-hand contact with food.

Jeff Nelken, a food safety expert and member of the Food Issue Group at Tellem Grody PR, is an expert on the law and preventing foodborne illness.  FIG is a clearing house for those seeking help in understanding how to cope with the no bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.  He is available to comment on Assembly bill 1252 which added section 113961 to the California Retail Food Code (CalCode). It prohibits bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food, and became effective January 1, 2014.

No Bare Hand Contact is the practice of preventing direct contact with bare hands while handling ready-to-eat foods. Hand washing alone is not enough to prevent foodborne illnesses, and that food service employees are the source of contamination in more than two-thirds of the foodborne outbreaks reported in the US with a bacterial or viral cause.

According to the CDC, “Recent studies indicate that handwashing alone is not enough to prevent foodborne illnesses and that food service employees are the source of contamination in more than two thirds of the foodborne outbreaks reported in the United States with a bacterial or viral cause. The CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.  It’s common knowledge that foodborne illnesses contracted at restaurants are underreported.  Many people think that just have the flu when they vomit and get diarrhea.

Also significant:

  • Spanish was the primary language of 58% of food workers but only 41% of managers could speak Spanish.
  • Floor cleaning policies existed in 95% of establishments, but only 37% of these policies were written.
  • Fewer establishments had policies on cleaning of food contact surfaces (88%), cutting boards (89%), and food slicers (72%).

For more information, contact Susan Tellem, APR, RN, BSN at 310-313-3444 x1 or email susan@tellemgrodypr.com.