Oh How I Love A Rant About The One-gloved Hand.

From Christel Uhler's blog: christel #3 tx

I'm noticing a trend in food service; a trend that repulses me, not only because of my germ phobia, but also because of its gross violation to Health Codes. I'm sorry if this awareness causes you to be more cognizant of your eating experience, but welcome to MY world.

In the food service, when handling foods, employees are usually required to wear gloves. Now these gloves are not so much to protect the employee; these gloves are to protect the person consuming the food. Even the Department of Health refers to these gloves as "single-use" gloves. (Yes, I have researched it.)

The Department of Health says, "Except when washing fruits and vegetables, food employees shall avoid contact of exposed ready-to-eat food with their bare hands by use of suitable utensils such as deli tissue, spatulas, tongs, or SINGLE-USE gloves."

This does not mean wear the SAME gloves all day long.

Case in point: I went to Wally-World the other day during my lunch break. I stopped by the deli to grab a 'lil something to snack on before I went back to work. The lady behind the counter did not put on new gloves. She adjusted her hair net and proceeded to manually grab my food from the heating pans. When I asked her to use tongs, she just started gingerly picking up my food and putting it in the bag. I asked her to stop and at least put on new gloves. She changed "A" glove, and then continued to fill the bag with the already "contaminated" food. When she realized that one of the items I had ordered wasn't so fresh, she offered to prepare some more. At this point, she went in the back, touching the door handle, opening the freezer, touching that door handle, putting the chicken in the fryer, touching those buttons, opening a deli case to get some ham, touching that handle, slicing the ham, wrapping it back up, and then using the same gloved hands to manually grab my chicken and put it in a bag.

At this point, me being me, I experienced 2 emotions - rage and nausea. I then proceeded to complain about this whole thing to a manager. One never knows for sure who is in charge of what at Wally World ... for all I knew, I was tattling to the garden center diva.

And.... begrudgingly, I ate my germ-infested lunch; tight on money, time, and I was hungry. I didn't have time to wait for someone else to get me sanitized food. I decided not to cause a scene.

Cut to today: I took Roo (my kitten) to the vet to get him neutered, and on my way home, I stopped for breakfast tacos. I paid the lady at the counter, and then I saw her, with her one gloved-hand, using the kitchen utensil and her other ungloved-hand, prying my tortillas apart. I watched in horror as this woman who had touched my money (and been touching money all morning) made my breakfast. I wanted to hurl right there in the drive-thru.

How do you feel about servers who handle cash money? The fact that I actually HAD cash money was shocking. Oh, to feel the germs crawling on my hands after I handed my money to her, and then have those same germs come back to me in my food was all I could stand!

I was so angry and crazy by this time, instead of turning back, I just drove off. Halfway home, I fished out the receipt and phoned the eatery. I told the guy what happened and that I was now going to throw my food away. I just can't wrap myself around the reality of eating money food.

I will call the Department of Health and "report" both occurrences.

So, I ask you, please, if you are IN food service and reading this, BE AWARE of what you touch. The gloves are there to protect me and everyone else eating take-out food from germs. Not to protect you from the my food. Hey, the food won't contaminate your hands...but what you touch after you have put on those gloves WILL contaminate me.


Note: After writing a letter to the Texas Department of Health, Cristel received the following response:

From: Barscewski, Steve
Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 2:33 PM
Cc: Marlow, Deborah; Ivie, Tray
Subject: Single-Use Gloves

Dear Ms. Uhler;
I have been asked to respond to your recent question pertaining to glove use. In response to your question I am providing you a link to the Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER): http://www.tdh.state.tx.us/bfds/retail/tfer.html. The part of the rules that deal with handling ready to eat foods is: 229.164(e) "Preventing Contamination From Hands". This subsection lists the various methods that must be used when handling a ready to eat foods. The current rules do also allow bare hand contact with a ready eat foods only when a specific set of requirements is met by the food establishment. This list of requirements is listed in the TFER in subsection 229.164(e)(1)(D).

The establishments that you mention in your email are currently permitted and inspected by the Austin Travis County Health Department. Complaints about these establishment should be reported to your local health department. The number used to report an establishment to the Austin Travis County is (512) 972-5600. The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has regulatory jurisdiction in those areas of the state that are not under local health inspection.


Stephen J. Barscewski, R.S.
Compliance Officer
Food Establishment Group - mail code 2830
Policy Standards/Quality Assurance
Texas Dept of State Health Services
(512) 834-6753 x 2053


Posted September 2006 | Permanent Link

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