Monday, September 5, 2011

The gloved threat

The Central Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 (India) has now mandated that all people handling food will have to wear aprons and gloves. If someone is found violating the rule, they would be fined up to Rs. 100,000 (close to $2500).

The interesting part though is – there is no mandate on how often should the gloves be changed (or if they have to be changed at all!). I know of a food vendor (who incidentally serves my lunch everyday) who dons a plastic glove early in the morning and reuses the same glove the entire day (or rather I doubt he has ever even bothered to buy a new one). Rather than only handling food (which I believe is the intent of the glove), he handles everything and anything from tables, chairs, pens, plates, spoons and worst – currency notes! Now, research has proved several times that currency notes are carriers of all kinds of disease causing bacteria.

If this is not enough, I have seen him scratch and do all sorts of funny stuff with his gloved hand. We believe that putting oil in our hair nourishes them. This vendor religiously oils his hair everyday. Having done so (and Mumbai being a warm and humid city) his scalp too itches at times. This sensation is relieved by him by gently scratching with his gloved hand.

Sometimes I wonder, if he had directly used his bare hands, I am sure he might have washed them once a while and kept them cleaner than the way he treats his plastic gloves. I have pointed out to him on several occasions that he shouldn’t be handling money and food with the same hand. But he gives me that typical Indian look that says “Dude, are you from a foreign country? This is as hygienic that I can be!” (For the Bambaiya’s he literally means – “Khane ka to kha, nahi to nikal patli gali se”).

Sigh, another well intentioned policy, that is bound to be misused again.


  1. at our office they wear glove in only one hand... i think the left one which is used to hold the plates.. but CHAT is made using the right hand :))