Restaurants Exposed: When do food workers need to wear gloves?

July 24, 2017 06:00 PM

To wear gloves or not to wear gloves - that is the question. That’s certainly a question many viewers have asked News10NBC.  The answer is as follows: If the food is going to be cooked, gloves aren’t necessary. But if it's prepared food, the handler must wear gloves. That's the issue that got two restaurants cited with critical violations, and one was fined.

Carmine's brags that it's Rochester's favorite family restaurant. But it was not a favorite among health inspectors who recently dropped in unannounced at the Greece eatery. They cited it with four critical violations including risk of cross contamination of raw and cooked food and food that wasn't hot enough.

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The owner says he corrected the problems, but then inspectors dropped in again just two days later. And again, Carmine's was cited with critical violations - this time for food that wasn't hot enough, a risk of cross contamination, and something else – bare hand contact with prepared food.  

The owner, Mauro Petrella explained, "An employee reached for a cucumber with a bare hand. Human beings make mistakes. It's my job as the restaurant owner/manager to correct those mistakes."

But these mistakes were costly. The owner of Carmine's confirms that he was fined $2,000 for each critical violation for a total $6,000. While the health department wouldn't comment on Carmine's specifically, leaders said in general, "We can call operators in for hearings when they are non-compliant, meaning we can't get them to comply after several inspections or if we find very poor conditions on the first visit."

But the owner of Carmine's insists he was completely cooperative and passed a subsequent inspection. And he points to the fact that after his hearing, the Monroe County health department lowered the fines to $750.00.

Branca Midtown in downtown Rochester was cited with four critical violations, one of which was also for bare hand contact with cooked food. One of the owners of Branca Midtown, Jenna Miles, explained that workers always wear gloves when they wash and cut produce, but in this case: "The inspector observed one of our servers taking stickers off lemons without gloves on. So that was an easy fix - putting gloves on before we remove the stickers and keeping them on throughout the process."

So that begs the question -- do bartenders have to wear gloves when they put a slice of lemon or lime in your drink? Monroe County Health leaders say they’re supposed to use utensils, not their bare hands.

Here's Deanna's Do List.

1. Check the restaurants inspection record.

2. If you see a problem, report it.


Deanna Dewberry

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