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.