We might be seeing a lot more tweezers in cocktail bars this time next year. The new California food safety law that went into effect on Jan. 1, which requires chefs and food-handlers to wear disposable gloves or use utensils when handling "ready-to-eat foods" like sushi, deli sandwiches, and so on, has riled up a lot of folks in the food community. Today, the LA Times pointed out that the law could extend to bartenders when they handle ice, make lemon twists, or olive garnishes.
There's something decidedly unsexy about a bartender wearing disposable rubber gloves to make a drink, and I'd wager that the craft cocktail community will hold out as long as it can. We'll have to wait and see how far the Department of Public Health will take things. As a spokeswoman for the California Restaurant Association told the LAT, they're still waiting on "guidance documents" from food inspectors to see exactly how the law will be implemented.
In the meantime, maybe someone can get busy inventing these hands-free garnish dispensers?