I’ve done a search for this topic but haven’t found anything on it so I’ll ask the question.
We were recently inspected by our local environmental health official and were made aware of the change in regulations as of 1 Dec 07 that all Ready to Eat foods (RTEs), which includes cooked meat toppings, mozzarella, etc., must be handled with disposable gloves or utensils. (Anything which can be consumed safely without additional processing.)
The rule was written without any provision for subsequent baking, which seems a bit unfair to pizza makers, as all of our toppings are undergoing a heating process which should easily destroy any harmful pathogens before they reach the consumer. (I mean, the rule only applies to RTE foods, not raw items such as fresh sausage, etc.)
My local health department official has suggested a HAACP, which is lengthy waiver process and requires a third party to provide data to back up the claim that all pathogens are destroyed during the baking process.
After contacting the state director of the restaurant association (Georgia), he contacted the Environmental Health top official who pretty much backed up the local inspector. (Bottom line, if you want to be exempt from the disposable glove rule, file a HAACP plan, which Papa John’s has already done, evidentally.)
Am I the only one out here who hasn’t been using disposable gloves in assembling pizzas?
Does anyone here know of something done on a national level to address this issue, or is it only in the state of Georgia?
Using gloves is not the end of the world, but it will slow us down (adding costs) and seems somewhat unfair considering the process we follow. (Had the rule included the provision for handling RTEs prior to processing (baking), this would not be an issue.