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Food Handling Law Enforcing No Bare-Hands Rule in Restaurants

Food Handling Law Enforcing No Bare-Hands Rule in Restaurant

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Maria Mandziara tends to the kitchen in her Santa Maria-based restaurant, Maria's Cre-Asian Diner.

"Every little thing we have to do is to think about safety and cleanliness," said Mandziara. "That's our top priority here."

Whether it's constantly washing hands or putting on gloves before preparing food, Mandziara knows all about running a squeaky clean restaurant.
"I have no qualms at all with people coming in my kitchen and seeing what we are doing, because that's the trust that I'd like to have," said Mandziara.

She says she is already following the rules laid out by Assembly Bill 1252, which went into effect this January. The law adds some new requirements to the California Retail Food Code.

The new law will ban kitchen workers from touching any ready-to-eat food with their bare-hands. Any food that doesn't require any further cooking can only be touched with utensils or if a worker is wearing gloves.
The law is firing up some restaurant owners who say it'll create unnecessary waste from overuse of gloves.

But not Maria.

"It could be cumbersome and going overboard, but again, you're talking safety," said Mandziara.

Food inspectors won't be handing out fines until July, giving restaurant owners plenty of time to stock up on supplies.
"For some restaurant owners that are already practicing it, I don't think it'll be hard to follow through, but for some who haven't been doing it by the book, then that might be a problem," said Mandziara.

An Assembly Bill has been introduced in response to this new change. That bill seeks to put an end to the no bare-hands rule and come up with a compromise on the issue.

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