Health Department and bare hand food contact

I was eating sushi at a very nice place recently and I saw a framed certificate on the wall documentating that the department of health inspected the premises and was allowing glove-less handling of foodstuff. The chef told me it was a big deal and the inspector was very demanding. I am cool with that.

However, I was in a quicky mart type store that sells slices of pizza that is in a rotating heated display. Customers help themselves. I watched as someone sneezed into their hand, then immediately opened the pizza display and got a slice. In the process of seperating their slice, they handled adjacent slices. I walked out feeling a tad queasy.

How does the department of health justify this apparent dichotomy? Why is self-serve food permitted?

In Alabama, a quicky mart is considered a “Limited Food Service Establishment” - Regulations in evil PDF form here

Limited Food Service Establishments sell “food” that arrives at the place already cooked. I use the term “food” loosely because this means meats, cheeses, or any combination of the same. Such as hotdogs or pizza. If the correct temperature is maintained and a bare minimum of contamination precautions are done (the little door on the rotisserie), it’s fine to sell. As long as it doesn’t cool. Power goes out, everything *should be * tossed. Theoretically, because it’s already cooked and remains at nuclear temperature, it’s safe to eat.

But, as a former public health food inspector, I will conceed that I do not eat quicky mart food. Just because some wahoo got the bright idea to sell pre-cooked pizza by the slice doesn’t mean that I want to take my chances on the Wheel-O-Contamination. Who knows who touched that food before me?

And don’t get me started on all-you-can-eat buffets.

Thanks, DeVena.
I need some reassurance that I am not going off the deep end in never eating food handled by my hepatitis excreting neighbors. :smiley: