What's REALLY On Your Waiter's Hands?

Dirty_Waiter_Hands_slidePhotographed By Angela Pham.
Perhaps you’re familiar with this scenario: You fish through your wallet, hand over a crusty $20 bill to a bartender and watch in horror as she rifles through the register for change, tucks her hair behind her ear, and dips her bare hand into the lime-wedge container. The lime goes kerplunk and you drink your drink. There’s no telling where her hands have been and there’s only so much alcohol in that gin and soda to kill off whatever’s on them.
Many reported foodborne illness outbreaks originate in restaurants and food workers’ poor personal hygiene is a known contributor. In 1993, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended a bare-hand contact ban — currently in place in 41 states, but in California, restaurant workers are fighting for the right to bare hands.
Harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Salmonella, as well as noroviruses (the most common cause of food-borne disease outbreaks) can be found on unwashed hands. The CDC suggests workers wash hands before preparing food, before putting on gloves to prepare food, after eating, drinking, smoking, coughing, sneezing, and blowing one’s nose, after prepping raw meat, after handling dirty equipment, and our personal favorite — “after touching body.” Of the 321 restaurants the CDC monitored, workers washed their hands in only 27% of the above activities. Ew.
But, is using tongs, spatulas, deli paper, or most commonly — single-use gloves — enough to keep our food safe? Unfortunately, no. Glove use has actually been shown to contribute to foodborne outbreaks. Research shows glove use may be counterproductive because restaurant workers may wash their hands less frequently with gloves creating a false sense of security. And, if there’s a small tear in a glove from long nails or rings, food can be subjected to microbes grown in the warm, moist conditions between latex and hand.
For the states who don’t yet have a written bare-hands ban (yet) — Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Wyoming, Tennessee, and South Carolina — we see both sides to the “keep your paws off my food” saga. Only time will tell if restaurant workers in California, or other states, will convince legislators that bare hands may be the safer choice. (Fox News)

More from Body

Summer is over (for real). So it's time to face the facts: You're going to get a cold. Actually, you're probably going to get colds — plural. The average ...
The pelvic exam — complete with the stirrups and the speculum — isn't anyone's favorite thing about having a vagina. But it's really important because it's...
A few years ago, two Michigan urologists noticed a curious pattern among their patients: Upon returning from a Disney World vacation, patients would ...
Pregnant women get a lot of advice about motherhood, even when they don't ask for it. And in the first episode of Expecting, from Refinery29's comedy ...
It shouldn't be this complicated, all this body stuff: size discrimination, weight bias, the multi-factioned movement fighting to reverse it. At its core ...
On principle, I am skeptical of any internet health recommendation that has the word “challenge” tacked on to the end of it. These wellness fads come and...
Although he had been dead for decades, Jim Morrison said something a few years ago that shocked people. He wasn’t speaking from beyond the grave, but in ...
(Paid Content) Stress sweat is different from regular sweat in that it feeds off bacteria and causes odor. Then you start to think about it — producing ...
In April, I ran a story called “The Medium-Sized Woman Problem.” The “problem,” of course, was not the women themselves, but the way in which we frame ...
Jill Krause writes about all things mom, parenting, and relationships at her blog, Baby Rabies, and she has some words of advice for the non-pregnant ...
Let me introduce you all to the love of my life, Sienna Harper Gernon! I've never felt love like it! @justchrisgernon thank you so much, you have been...
Ragazzi mi state seguendo in tanti e vorrei ringraziarvi e scusarmi se non riesco a rispondere a tutti...vi proprio ho una foto che mi ricorda tutte ...
Update: Kopp's original Facebook post has been removed, and, as Shape reports, the chances of contracting an infection so severe that draining is ...
Breast-feeding has numerous benefits for both mother and baby, but it doesn't always come as naturally as we might assume. And, as one viral photo shows, ...