As I mentioned in my previous entry, here in NYC there has been a huge argument over a new NYC regulation that risks ruining a treasured culinary heritage of sushi. A potentially new requirement to wear gloves — “Food shall be prepared and served without bare hand contact unless the food will be heated to a minimum temperature”, says the code. In fact, the Health Department recently shut down a famous sushi restaurant partly because of violations of this provision. As a Japanese sushi lover who grew up on sushi prepared by the naked hand, I have to say that sushi chefs use their hands to make sure the sushi is fresh — with gloves they simply can not feel the texture or best part of the fish needed for the preparation.
2016 will be the year to fight this potential requirement. According to the Daily News article, the NYC Health Department has demonstrated reasonable flexibility on similar/related issues like this in the past, and I hope they will demonstrate good judgment with this issue as well. As a Japanese who has eaten sushi nearly all of my life, I can attest that nearly all Japanese people would be dead by now if the concerns of the NYC Heath Department were true. Fingers crossed that sushi chefs in NYC will prevail.