Starting January 1st California implemented a new law that would require food workers of all sorts to wear gloves during prep.
This will have unintended problems with some food prep, such as making a lemon twist, or preparing sushi, both rather impossible with gloved hands, but also waste time and money as the gloves need to be changed every time a new food is being handled. There is a fear that to save that time and money that gloves will be changed less often, and a dirty glove is much worse than a clean hand.
For me though the issue is much more personal and much more important. I have a fairly severe latex allergy and latex gloves being used to prepare my food can be deadly for myself or others with a latex allergy. Even gloves being used in the same kitchen, even if not used to prepare my food can be dangerous. Latex gloves release very small particles in the air when snapped, or put on or removed that not only get into the food being prepared but also become airborne and can land on any food in the area; which is what happened to me today. I ate a salad with completely recognizable ingredients and also had checked prior as to latex use in the restaurant and was told they don’t use it. Well it turns out they do in the preparation of some foods and some clean up. Latex gloves didn’t touch what I ate, but I had a reaction anyways. First my mouth started hurting, then my eyes started itching and within 5 minutes my whole body was on fire with a horrible itch and I was having trouble talking and breathing. I got dizzy and felt faint and confused. I probably should have called 911 but I didn’t realize at the time it was early symptoms of anaphylaxis. Instead I took two benydryl and cancelled my afternoon class, and was careful not be to alone. Even after the double dose of antihistamines 5 hours later I am still itchy.
Latex gloves are illegal in three states in food establishments but California added a glove law and forgot to make latex gloves illegal.
Latex gloves are very tactile and fit tightly so may often be preferred by food handlers than the plastic ones that fit loosely and can fall off easily. Synthetic alternatives to latex gloves can also cost more.
I first thought I might have to quite eating out to be safe, but what is protecting the food at my grocery store from containing latex particles. Anything food by hand in california now may have been touched by latex gloves, that includes bags of greens, ready made sandwiches, any raw meats, sliced cheese, breads.
For now I will continue asking if restaurants use latex gloves in their kitchen, but I will also take a daily antihistamine and also never again leave the house without my dpi-pen. Restaurant owners, if you use latex gloves you might want to put it on your menu or even in your window, the last thing you want is to follow this new law and wind up killing someone.