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California lawmakers reconsider bare-hand food ban

Published On: Mar 25 2014 06:51:40 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 25 2014 06:52:30 PM CDT
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -

California lawmakers are beginning to back away from a new law that bans bare-hand contact with food in restaurants.

The Assembly Health Committee voted 15-0 Tuesday to repeal and revisit the regulation before enforcement begins this summer, following opposition from chefs and bartenders.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill last year requiring restaurant workers to wear gloves or use utensils when handling ready-to-eat food. It allows for exceptions, but local regulators were granting them inconsistently.

Regulators say bare-hand contact by kitchen staff is a leading cause of food-borne illness.

The bare-hand ban already is in place in 41 other states, but independent and high-end restaurateurs say the law is restrictive, wasteful and undermines existing hygiene practices.