One of the things required during my brief career as a meal assembly kitchen worker is food safety training. Yup – at one point, I was Miriam Tirips, BS in EECS and ServSafe Certified (not to be mistaken with certifiable.) During my ServSafe training, I not only learned about the proper temperature to store food, but I also learned about proper glove etiquette. You might not have ever considered this, but there is a proper way to put on gloves.
Firstly, you must wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 10-15 seconds, making sure to get around the edges of the cuticles and underneath the fingernails. Then, after washing and drying your hands, you can safely put on gloves. Common sense, one might think. But recently, I’ve noticed several violations of this policy that almost make me want to call the restaurant inspector myself (although I really wouldn’t.)
Here are a couple of examples:
1. I’m waiting in line at a sandwich shop – the kind where the makers are lined up assembly style. Each of the employees is wearing a nifty pair of disposable plastic gloves to make sure no icky germs get onto the customers’ sandwiches. Uh-oh! One of the workers needs to sneeze! He quickly takes off his gloves, turns away and sneezes into his hands. Then he proceeds to grab the SAME PAIR of gloves, with his snot covered hands, and puts them on again so he can complete his sandwiches.
2. I’m at another little deli and the person behind the counter is making a sandwich. And of course, being the sanitary place that it is, he is wearing gloves. But something is wrong. He has an itch. And what do you do when you have an itch? You scratch it. And just like that, the sandwich maker scratches the itch on his nose (with his gloves still on,) and proceeds to finish making the sandwich.
In both scenarios, the person wearing the gloves is totally defeating the purpose of wearing gloves. Clean gloves should be put on with clean hands. If employees need to touch their face, hair, money, or anything else that is NOT food, they should take off their gloves, scratch the itch, grab the money, or whatever else they need to do, then go wash their hands and put on a CLEAN pair of gloves. You do NOT re-use gloves.
Sadly, it’s difficult for me to go into any fast food restaurant and not notice some sort of food safety violation. Don’t even get me started on the many ways the food in salad bars is contaminated. But you know what? A girl’s got to eat. So I take my vitamins each day, drink plenty of water, and take heart that “that which does not kill me makes my immune system stronger.”
Have you all seen any food safety violations?