Three days before health officers in California were expected to begin enforcing legislation requiring bartenders and chefs to wear gloves when handling ready-to-eat food, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Saturday he has signed a bill repealing the legislation.
The measure reverses legislation Brown signed last year prohibiting retail food employees from handling ready-to-eat food with bare hands. The new legislation instead requires food employees to "minimize" bare hand contact.
The original bill was part of a broader food safety code package approved by lawmakers without opposition. Since the bill was enacted last year, however, many restaurant and bar owners raised objections, saying the rule would require employees to constantly change gloves and could lead them to wash their hands less frequently.
"It didn't sound that dissimilar to the existing law, which said that we should minimize hand contact and that there should be good hand-washing procedures," Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, the author of both the original and revised bill, said in February.
After the original legislation passed, Pan said, "we started hearing from local restaurants, smaller restaurants, and also bartenders about the impact it would have on them."
Assembly Bill 2130, the legislation repealing the regulation, passed without opposition, and Brown signed it without comment.
The bill was one of 15 measures Brown announced signing Saturday. Among other bills, he signed Assembly Bill 129, by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, legalizing the use of alternative currencies such as Bitcoin.