The Assembly Health Committee met this week to consider AB 2130 (Pan), which seeks to repeal the state's “no bare hand contact” with ready-to-eat foods law that officially took effect Jan. 1, 2014.
While the California Restaurant Association (CRA) was successful in having the health inspector community agree to an additional six-months of “soft roll out” to educate, inform and provide compliance guidance to the industry, health officers are supposed to begin penalizing bar and restaurant operators found in violation beginning July 1.
AB 2130 seeks to reset the discussion surrounding this issue. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration adopted the provision in 1993 and 41 other states have some sort of ban on bare hand contact with ready-to-eat-foods.
The CRA led the committee testimony in support of the effort behind AB 2130 and was followed by several prominent Sacramento-area restaurateurs and chefs. AB 2130 proposes to restore language in the retail food code that would be consistent with the law as it existed before Jan. 1, 2014 and would require food employees to minimize, not prohibit, bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.
The Assembly Health Committee approved the bill with 18 yes votes and no votes in opposition. AB 2130 will next be considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.