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October 7, 2022

It’s reasonable to want proper handling of the food you consume, which is why a TikTok user with the handle @ashcashnyc posted a video when he felt that wasn’t the case (via Daily Dot). The since-deleted TikTok revealed a Wingstop employee putting chicken in the fryer without gloves, prompting the original poster to cancel his food order.

There is no doubt that proper food handling is vital in the service industry. According to TN.GOV, touching certain foods with bare hands can expose customers to foodborne illness. While hand washing definitely helps to kill bacteria, it doesn’t completely eliminate the risk. While this may sound alarming, especially when you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes at your favorite restaurant, you’re probably safer than you think. These rules generally apply to foods that are not being cooked again, such as sandwiches, baked goods, sushi, and fresh fruit. That’s probably why the original TikToker didn’t get the response it hoped for for the video.

Wearing gloves may mean less hand-washing

According to The Daily Dot, TikTok users rushed to defend the bare-handed Wingstop worker seen in the viral video. “All bacteria burn with the heat of the oils, you’ll be fine, they don’t touch the wings when you put them in that lmfao pot,” read one comment. Another comment was from an alleged Wingstop worker who claims that employees “[Wash] your hands and then put down the baskets”. They repeated this because when fried chicken oil reaches the right temperature — 350 degrees, in this case — that heat can help kill any harmful bacteria. Cooking oil can even repel bacteria when placed on metal surfaces, according to Science Alert. However, one comment may have stood out more: “As someone who is a chef…I promise you, even in the best restaurants, we don’t wear gloves,” it read.

This may be shocking to some, but according to the CDC, cooks with gloves wash their hands less often than those without, increasing the potential for bacteria to spread. When gloves are used, those working in food preparation must change them between tasks. Often, unfortunately, no. In the CDC study, many employees admit to changing their gloves infrequently, even after handling raw meat. “[Gloves] have their place, but really… they’ve created a belief in food service that just by wearing gloves, everything will be clean,” CIA graduate Timothy Fisher told the Food Beast. Basically, if gloves aren’t being used effectively in the first place, bare hands might be the best way to go.