How To Handle Your Meat

Polish MeatI recently went into a Gristedes (supermarket) the other day to get a “ham and swiss on rye with mayo” and was horrified that the person handling the deli section had no gloves on. He also laid the “edibles” directly on the contaminated counter. He tried to be slick by standing in front of the food , so I couldn’t see it being contaminated. I never- the- less refused the sandwich.

This happens all the time, even in the prestigious Food Emporium. When they wear gloves, notice how many times they touch a handle to open up the door to the refrigerated meats so beautifully displayed. Open and closing it to retrieve the food, or scratching unmentionable bodily areas, then man-handling your food when you’re not looking. Perhaps even touching the floor….

When I filed a complaint to NYC’s inspectors, I was told that using gloves applies only to cooked food. This ensures that you contract nothing from the hands of the person making your lunch sandwich, but what happens as you go from one handle to the next, one knife to another? What about the contamination that is spread via the gloves?

Handle Your Meat 1If you go to a Butcher Shop (do they still exist?), they never cut up the meat with gloves. According to the inspectors, if the food is uncooked, all bets are off since you’re supposed to cook the food thoroughly. If it’s already cooked, it’s assumed you’re not going to cook it again, hence the need for gloves. That’s where all of these “sanitary” rules most apply. How many people know this distinction?

Would you feed that kind of contaminated food to your child?

If a surgeon scratches his nose after the gloves are on, he has to take them off, re-scrub, and put a new pair of sterile gloves. Although contamination is everywhere and it is impossible to eliminate it completely, there are far better ways to handle your meat. Food handling laws should be stricter. Don’t you agree?