Via The Primalfoot Alliance comes a pointer to a story from last September in Corpus Christi in which the Health Department initiated an inspection of a restaurant because one of their employees was photographed after having taken her shoes off.
Even the Health Department doesn’t know its own rules.
It is short enough that I will just quote the whole thing:
CORPUS CHRISTI – A picture of an employee without shoes led to a surprise inspection at Furrs Cafeteria on Port Avenue.
An Action 10 News viewer was dining at the restaurant on Sunday when he spotted an employee behind the counter take off her shoes. He took a picture of the shoeless employee and he contacted the City-County Health department who sent out an inspector this afternoon.
The Health Department tells us the manager and assistant manager told the inspector all employees have been told to keep their shoes on. They also assured that they will make sure all their workers will keep their shoes on at all times.
There is also a picture:
In it, we can see that she is not even barefoot, but wearing socks.
So, what was the offense?
If you look at Food Codes, most of the states model theirs on the FDA Food Code, which say a lot about personal cleanliness, when gloves must be worn, covering the hair, and frequent hand-washing. But when it comes to clothing, here is all it says:
2-304.11 Clean Condition.
Food employees shall wear clean outer clothing to prevent contamination of food, equipment, utensils, linens, and single-service and single-use articles.
That’s it. What one is or is not wearing on one’s feet is totally unrelated to contamination of anything food related. As I’ve said before, feet do not emit magic death rays.
The Texas Food Code is here. It’s §229.163(m) says
Outer clothing clean condition. Food employees shall wear clean outer clothing to prevent contamination of food, equipment, utensils, linens, and single-service and single-use articles.
Again, no prohibition on bare feet (or feet in socks).
The TV station just ignorantly thought being stockinged was a violation and called it in. And then the ignorant Health Department not only didn’t set them straight, but they too thought it was a violation.
Don’t they even know the rules they are supposed to enforce????
This seems to be just another of those myths, like that barefoot driving is illegal (it’s not), or that customers have to wear shoes (they don’t), that just keep getting perpetuated. In fact, one of the comments on The Primalfoot Alliance’s facebook feed said
Whether it should or should not be o.k. for employees to be barefoot, I do know that it is in the health code regulations in my state and, therefore, enforceable.
That sounds to me just like all the stuff I’ve heard from people claiming that barefoot driving is illegal in their state.
I checked quite a few states, and all of them are based on the FDA Food Code, with some minor variations in wording.
For instance, in Ohio
OAC 3717-1-02.2(H). Outer clothing – clean condition.
Food employees shall wear clean outer clothing to prevent contamination of food, equipment, utensils, linens, single-service articles, or single-use articles.
In Kansas and Delaware:
Outer Clothing 2-304.11 Clean Condition.
FOOD EMPLOYEES shall wear clean outer clothing to prevent contamination of FOOD, EQUIPMENT, UTENSILS, LINENS, and SINGLE-SERVICE and SINGLE-USE ARTICLES.
Florida and Massachusetts use the FDA Food Rules directly in regard to outer clothing.
In New York:
Section 271-3.4 Clothing.
(a) Employees shall wear clean outer clothing.
(b) Employees shall use effective hair restraints where necessary to prevent the contamination of food or food-contact surfaces.
Section 750.520 General – Clothing
a) The outer clothing of all employees shall be clean.
b) Employees shall use effective hair restraints (such as hats, hair coverings or nets, beard restraints, and clothing that covers body hair) that are designed and worn to effectively keep their hair from contacting exposed food; clean equipment, utensils and linens; and unwrapped single-service and single-use articles.
There is nothing in any of these things about shoes or even about wearing footwear. There is nothing that even implies that footwear must be worn.
Yet, this seems to be another of those myths that just live on for no good reason. Hopefully, I’ve given you some information to debunk it.