Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press file, 2008

This little piggy went to a salon where fish in Maryland perform a pedicure, a method of cleaning flaking skin off the toes that is forbidden in California. State regulations say equipment must be disinfected between uses, and fish don't take well to that.

The Buzz: Getting ready for sandal season? Fish pedicures not a California option

Published: Monday, Apr. 29, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3A

State reminds salons that toes can't be fish food

A California board enforcing standards for beauty services is renewing a warning against one approach for getting toes ready for sandal season.

The California Board of Cosmetology and Barbering recently reissued a bulletin banning nail salons from offering a spa treatment using live fish on patrons' soles.

Health officials have long raised concerns about letting fish nibble off dead skin during a pedicure, leading some states to ban the practice.

The California board announced years ago that fish pedicures run afoul of health rules requiring that tools be disinfected between patrons.

"There's no way they can disinfect that water that person is putting their feet into," Executive Officer Kristy Underwood said.

Now, the board is once again promoting that decision.

The practice is more common overseas. But it seems California consumers weren't too hooked on it to begin with.

Fred Jones, Professional Beauty Federation of California's executive director, said he wasn't aware of any salons offering fish pedicures here before the decision took effect.

"How do you disinfect a live fish?" he asked. "You don't, so they would basically be single-use. I don't know what kind of secondhand market there is for used pedicure fish."


It's Queer Youth Advocacy Day, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youngsters are rallying at 10:45 a.m. on the Capitol's north steps. California lawmakers expected to join them include Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, Sen. Mark Leno, and Assembly members Tom Ammiano, Roger Dickinson, Richard Gordon and Susan Eggman.


"I'm not running for governor right now. Period. … I would like one day to be governor. But the last time I looked, there's somebody in the job."

ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, soon-to-be-former Los Angeles mayor, talking to Politico last week

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