Question:

If you’re not supposed to touch food before washing netilas yadayim, are we allowed to eat food that was prepared by a non-frum member of the family?
Are kosher restaurants allowed to hire non-frum staff that will handle the food? Are they made to wash before they start their shift?

Answer:

It is definitely preferred, and one should try to make sure that anyone that touches the food should have washed his/her hands three times, (also if it is possible there are opinions to wash the food off three times) however b’dieved if it wasn’t done the food is not for bidden to eat. Some of the rationales to be lenient are that it can be assumed that most people wash their hands, in the morning, and even if they weren’t washed with a kli, it is still considered washed. Therefore if the worker had his hands under the faucet, one hand, thenthe next, etc. it would be considered as if he did wash his hands. Although it is very hard to try to ensure that irreligious workers wash their hands properly before touching food, it is possible for a boss to insist that all workers that might touch food that they wash their hands well before starting to work, and that might be like washing their hands three times.

The above discussion only applies to a non religious Jew, but not to a gentile, as this issue doesn’t apply to them.

Sources:

M:B 4-10,14, Halichos Shlomo 20 ftnt. 25, Teshuvos Vhanhagos 1-1, 2-3. See Yabia Omer 4-1, who permits it, but see Even Yisroel 7-1 who argues on him.

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