A new study whose researchers literally looked at 1,804 transactions at 100 food carts in ten different “densely populated” Manhattan “zones” found that vendors did not change gloves between handling money and dispensing grub on a staggering 1,026 occasions, or a full 56.9 percent of the time. Street-food champions will likely find fault with the study’s methodology — maybe all those white-coated scientist types with clipboards hovering over the souvlaki were making the proprietors extra nervous? — while the findings likely aren’t going to win over any converts who normally avoid dirty water dogs and falafel over rice.
Still, the results are interesting. Incidents of not changing gloves and handling bacteria-laden money increased at lunchtime over breakfast, for example, and just go to show that whoever develops a robust mobile-payment app that allows vendors to stick to handling food only may eventually be hailed as a public health hero.