Over the weekend, Governor Brown signed into law AB 2130 (Pan), which repeals the existing law that prohibits bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods. The law that AB 2130 seeks to overturn went into effect Jan. 1, but the California Restaurant Association (CRA) was successful in convincing the health inspector community to provide a six-month soft roll out, ensuring no hard enforcement before July 1.
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 did not materialize as envisioned or promised.
The CRA-backed urgency legislation made it to the Governor and was signed into law just as the bare hand ban was to be enforced beginning Tuesday. The California Retail Food Code will now, once again, simply require food employees to minimize bare hand contact, as opposed to prohibiting bare hand contact.