The Senate Health Committee held a hearing Tuesday on AB 2130 (Pan), which proposes to repeal the newly enacted no-bare-hand-contact law. The California Restaurant Association (CRA) was the only entity to testify in support of the legislation, which was approved by a vote of 9-0.
AB 2130 seeks to reset the discussion surrounding the issue. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration adopted a similar provision in 1993 and 41 other states have some sort of ban on bare hand contact with ready-to-eat-foods.
But in California, restaurants of all sizes quickly determined that a one-size-fits all implementation for such a diversely structured industry presents great operational challenges. Additionally, the exemption process at the local level has not been what was envisioned or promised.
Should the repeal effort be a success, the state law will revert back to language in the retail food code as it existed before Jan. 1, 2014 and will require food employees to minimize, not prohibit, bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.
AB 2130 is on the fast track as “urgency” legislation and has received overwhelming votes of support at each legislative hurdle. It will next go before the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.