Ban on Bare Hand Contact by Food-Service Workers Repealed

On June 30, 2014, Governor Brown signed AB 2130 effectively repealing California Retail Food Code Section 113961, which would have prohibited bare hand contact by food-service workers with ready-to-eat foods, has been repealed. The new section went into effect January 1, 2014, with a six-month soft roll-out preventing hard enforcement before July 1, 2014.

AB 2130 enacts the former law, requiring that food-service workers minimize bare hand contact, as opposed to prohibiting bare hand contact. Further, AB 2130 re-opens the discussion on a full restriction of bare food handling. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a similar restriction on bare food handling, which was adopted in 1993. In addition, 41 states have some form of ban on bare hand contact with ready-to-eat-foods. Opponents of the restriction on bare hand to food contact legislation felt that California restaurants, no matter the size, would have massive operational challenges. Clearly more dialogue is needed on what makes sense from a real world perspective.