No, seriously -- employees must wash their hands before returning to work. Especially now.
A no-bare-hands rule was supposed to take effect in Oregon on July 1st, that would have prohibited bare-hand contact with any cooked or ready-to-eat food products, as part of the FDA Retail Food Code. But food service workers and restaurateurs have convinced state health officials that it would do more harm than good.
Brian Steelman, a Portland restaurant owner told The Associated Press, "Gloves lead to a bulletproof-vest feeling. Cooks think, 'I have a glove on. I don't need to wash my hands.'"
Among the other arguments against the rule: increased plastic waste and disconnecting chefs and cooks from one of their most essential senses -- touch. Chefs frequently rely on their sense of touch to determine all kinds of things, from the temperature of a steak to the quality of an avocado. Chef Adam Sappington told Eatocracy, "I got a little philosophical about the whole idea. It takes away one of the senses of cooking.”
The Oregon Health Authority will instead bring together a "diverse workgroup of interested parties (restaurateurs, government inspectors, consumers, etc.) to review and provide recommendations on addressing norovirus and fecal contamination of food, and to identify the best options to reduce illness."