According to health department data from 2006, norovirus, another food-borne illness that causes gastroenteritis (cruise ship sickness), ranks second among food-related infections. Hammond says the alcohol contained within a beverage would not be sufficient to protect a patron from the risk of illness.
If every bartender in New York used tongs or gloves when handling fruit, it would not eliminate the risk of food-borne illness, health advocates say. One reason is that some bars may not carefully wash their fruit before cutting it. Reedy says the regulation is an important one, if not for its direct preventive effect, than for promoting hygiene-conscious behavior. And, customers may appreciate the gesture.
But the manager of the West Side bar rejects that notion. He believes latex gloves belong in a doctor's office, not behind the bar. The only latex products around a bar should be dispensed in the restrooms, he said.
"Latex gloves to me are just pretty creepy," he said.