Lonely Planet Writer

Most New York street food vendors don't change gloves enough

New York City.
New York City. Image by joiseyshowaa / CC BY-SA 2.0

A new study has found that most New York City mobile food vendors don’t change their gloves after exchanging money before serving the next customer as required by law. As dollar bills can contain a wide variety of bacteria, this puts the next customer in danger of picking up foodborne illness.

The New York City Health Code 81.13, reports the Daily News, requires that food vendors change gloves “after handling raw foods, performing tasks that do not involve food preparation or processing, handling garbage, or any other work where the gloves may have become soiled or contaminated.”

One hundred carts in total within 10 densely populated areas of Manhattan were studied by researchers from William Paterson University in New Jersey for the latest study. It transpired that in 56.9% of the 1804 customer transactions observed, the vendor did not change gloves in between handling money and the next person’s order.

Study author Corey Basch described the results as “eye-opening from a public health perspective” due to the foodborne illness risk. According to the CDC, one in six Americans suffer food poisoning every year. The study author, though, believes that customers shouldn’t give up on street food. She pointed out that being observant to glove-changing behavior of the vendors could reveal a great deal in a short time.