Making Restaurant Employees Wash Their Hands Is Un-American? Really?

washing handsWe like it when the people cooking our food keep their hands clean, don't we? It sounds kind of obvious, I know. Clean hands, pure food, can't lose! But I thought I'd ask because I just found someone who thinks it should be optional for restaurant workers to wash their hands after using the bathroom.


Let me introduce you to US Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina. He has a more "free market" approach to restaurant hygiene. When asked how he would feel if Starbucks didn't require its employees to wash their hands before returning to work, he replied:

I don’t have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says we don’t require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom. The market will take care of that. It’s one example.

Oh, okay! Well if you put it that way ... so let's say I order a drink at Starbucks and, what the heck, a cookie. And I drink my drink and eat my cookie. And then I have to pee because of all that coffee. And in the bathroom, I find this helpful and informative sign:

Hey you guys, we don't make our employees wash their hands after doing #2 here so, you know, buyer beware and all that.

GROSS! And also TOO LATE for me to make an informed choice!!!

Or maybe they put the sign up by the register or something so you can see it before you buy your drink. But there's a bunch of stuff in front of it, or people are blocking your view, or you're busy with your kids and just plain miss it? What if I'm a foreign tourist who isn't fluent in English. What if I can't read?!?

Why the laissez-faire attitude toward hygiene? Did Senator Tillis' parents not teach him the importance of washing his hands?

See, this is why we have this particular regulation. A bunch of people thought long and hard about it, and they decided it was in the public interest to require restaurant employees to wash their mitts after using the bathroom. This was the simplest solution. Not all regulations are BAD simply on account of being regulations.

Not to mention, isn't requiring a restaurant to post a sign warning of the lack of sanitation also a regulation? Don't start parsing that regulation mobius strip, Mr. Tillis. You're not ready.

As for whether or not restaurants actually enforce the hand-washing rule .... ugh, let's save that icky question for another day.

Do you see Senator Tillis' logic or do you think he's bonkers?


Image via wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

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