Drinking in the kitchen

Joined Jun 14, 2002
We got dinged by the health inspector because she caught some of the guys on the line with waterbottles. So now we got a memo forbidding waterbottles at your station.

Commence rage!!!

This is utter bull. Kitchens are hot sweaty places, and we shouldn't be forced to waste our breaktime or production time going to the break area just to rehydrate. I think I'd fricking die without my waterbottle chillin in the lowboy.

Our old policy allowed the use of sports top bottles to minimize cross contamination and spillage issues, but that still wasn't good enough.

What's the policy where you work? I've been at places that allowed free soda, free soda, but limitations on the number of cups you could use, water only, places that would set out pitchers of ice water on the line during service.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Hot line?  Sports type water bottles would make the most sense.  Cups get broken or spilled, disposable ones get tipped over--irregardless of lids and straws, pitchers get tupped over, I think sports bottles make the ost sense.

You must have some kind of radar when the H. inspector comes in.  When he/she does, all bottles go into the staff room/corner and the halos appear.  Usually you get a minute or two of notice.

My time it was garbage can lids, all garbages had to be covered.  Made as much sense as politics, as you had to lift up the lid to dump stuff in, lids invariably got stuffed under tables until the H. inspector walked in.  Once I tried to be clever and cut an 8" round hole in the lid, got shi* from the Chef and the H. Inspector

Then it was sanitizer. Some wanted it in a little red bucket, others in a spray bottle.  Spray bottle made the most sense--never got tipped over, never got contaminated.  So,--you guessed it, when we got our two minutes warning, the spray bottles dissapeared and the little red buckets appeared,

Think of it as this way:
Your 16, you went through a yellow light.  Cops stops you.  You could be a smarta**, and tell him it was yellow and it was legal to do so, or you could war a halo and "yessir/nosir" until he let you off with a warning.
Joined Aug 15, 2003
Yeah...thats bull****. You absolutely should be allowed to drink water during service...I know in the kitchen where I work it's a requirement. I stand right in front of a salamander, Jade planchas, and a cranked oven. I sweat...a lot...every day for 9-12 hours. There is no way I'm not drinking ice water constantly. 

Do you work in a corporate place? That kind of memo sounds like it was written by someone who doesn't cook on the line and has no idea what they are talking about. 

I mean, I'm all for sanitation of course, but done with closed top water bottles I don't see the problem...
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Joined Sep 18, 2008
Tulare County, California

Water (beverages) may be in food area ONLY if in a single use, disposable container with a lid and straw, accessible ONLY by leaning over and placing mouth on straw.

Container must be placed away from food prep/cooking area and NO manual contact is permitted.

I think if the HD had their way, we'd have to have IR nipples to such on!
Joined May 8, 2009
Wow.  You got dinged for that?

I'm sorry, thought I had a brutal HD.

Got dinged for open containers once, was told to get closed containers.

I would think that if your place was big enough for it to be a health concern,

you'd be dealing with CDC and not the Dept of health.  Well, both actually, but you know what I mean.


Currently, plastic cups with lids and straws.  More of an owner's rule than a HD rule.

Not sure of the rule locally.  They seem to make the rules up on the fly anyways.

Last place, anything goes/went.  No beer in coffee cups, please. 

People looked at me like I was an @sshole when I told them they couldn't eat their meal while prepping food.

"Like, hey man, I'm multi-tasking..."

I could go on a rant here...  I've got stories... 

but the bottom line is: you have to bend over.

"Thank you, sir.  May I have another?"
Joined Jul 28, 2001
We are allowed single use cups.

although we were told to keep sani buckets on the floor.

There is a million interpretations of the FDA guidelines. sometimes within our own dept.
Joined Apr 3, 2010
The outside of most Sani Buckets are dirty yet they permit them on table. Should not be, what if one tips and falls into food or splashed/. Health Dept. rules with forked tongeu, every inspector has different take on things. You have to wear a hat so hair does not fall in food. I had one guy totally bald and inspector  wrote us up for no hat. You figure it.??
Joined Aug 21, 2009
That's the first I've heard of not someone saying that you can't have a waterbottle in the kitchen.  No matter where I've worked I've always been allowed to drink on the line.  It's just common sense to do that especially when you're sweating buckets for 8+ hours a day!
Joined Sep 18, 2008
That's the first I've heard of not someone saying that you can't have a waterbottle in the kitchen.  No matter where I've worked I've always been allowed to drink on the line.  It's just common sense to do that especially when you're sweating buckets for 8+ hours a day!
It is not that you cannot drink on the line, it is how you are allowed to drink on the line.

From the explanation I received, as long as you do not touch the drink container with anything besides your lips and the container cannot spill, it is ok. The problem, at least here, seems to be hands are dirty and touching a drink container may be a source of cross-contamination. That is why single use cups, i.e. fill, drink, dispose, are also permissible.

Though it might make sense in theory, the practical application sucks!
Joined Feb 17, 2010
Sweat is ok, but a water bottle is not....Some day we will be required to wear a biological suit.
Joined Apr 3, 2010
I predict that within 5 years everyone dispensing food of any kind will be required to wear a mask of some kind.
Joined May 8, 2009
... we were told to keep sani buckets on the floor.
Drives me up the wall...  You want me to clean my deck with a rag soaked in bleach water and garbage flung from my prep board?!

We had 'motion sensor' paper towel dispenser mounted everywhere.  HD wanted them to be set so that there was always

a leaf of paper towel hanging from the dispenser.  I would always set them to only dispense when the motion detector was triggered.

Waited for them to show up so I could spit on the hanging dispensed towel to prove my point.

Never got the chance.

The politics are... 

Joined Nov 8, 2001
It is all up to interpretation of the following rule, from the 410 (FDA Food Code)

410-IAC 7-24-136

Sec 136. (a) Except as specified in subsection b, an employee shall chew gum, eat and drink food, or use any form of tobacco only in designated areas where the contamination of:

1. exposed food

2. clean equipment, utensils, and linen;

3. unwrapped single-service and single-use articles; or

4. other items needing protection;

cannon result.

(b) A food employee may drink from a closed beverage container if the container is handled in a manner that prevents contamination of the following:

1. The employees hands.

2.  The container.

3. Exposed food.

4. Clean equipment, utensils, and linens

5. Unwrapped single-service and single-use articles.

(c) For purposes of this section, a violation of subsection (a) or (b) is a critical item.

This is what the Feds dictate and it is up too each local HD to interpret it.  In my kitchen we just stuck a little shelf next to the hand sink for employee beverages, so after you take a drink you can wash your hands, and if there is a spill it doe not contaminate anything.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
I know!!!!!


Those drinking bladders that cyclists use that look like a little back-pack and have a drinking tube snaking through your shirt and clipped on your lapel. 

Look Ma! No Hands!

Seriously though, th shelf above the handsink is a good idea--If you can get staff to use it when the HD comes in......
Joined Jun 14, 2002
LMAO, camelbacks!!!!!!!!

I just don't get the reasoning of the Health dept sometimes. They want you to touch filthy garbage can lids routinely during the day, but if you lay a finger on a water bottle or a drink cup, it's 'shut er down' time.

I worked with a guy once. He was wearing a hair net for his head hear, another one around his mouth for his mustache and goatee. He was busy folding cake batter or something with his hand, and the batter was clinging to his hirsute forearm. Yargh

At my place, it looks like we'll wait until the Management goes lax and stops caring, like it normally does, and then back to business as usual. Just gotta pay more attention to when the HI shows up.

Any of you guys remember when they made a big crack down on using milk crates for storing stuff or turned upside down as a poor man's dunnage rack?
Joined May 13, 2011
Well, i guess i'll pipe up on this one, too. personally, i don't like anyone consuming ANYTHING while on the job. Don't care if they're prepping, or working the line. That's a pet-peeve of mine. I don't care how hungry or thirsty you are, if you can't step off the line long enough to make due, there's something wrong with how you work. I used to guzzle anything I could when i was young and working the line. Only made me sweat more. Cut back on the water, and you sweat less. take a 30 second break every half hour and get a small drink to rehydrate - maybe half a cup. That's all it takes to stay hydrated. I once put a thermometer on the line and it registered 40 degrees Celsius (100F?) between me, the steamer and the salamander at the height of summer. Yes, it was HOT, but we made due. Once i stopped drinking so much (it was really just a habit) I was less exhausted, less drenched, and looking so much more forward to a cold beer after service! 

I can't stand people who have a little snack going while they work, or a multitiude of soda, juice, and water in the fridge, or a Starbucks cup on the shelf above their station. Get a grip, man! When i used to teach, the rule was you left your water bottle or whatever your choice of beverage, on the shelf by the door. Not on your station, not under the table, not on a shelf above your work station. Poor attitude, and poor professionalism. Sorry. I have severely dinged competitors when i judged competitions for this, too. It's just not safe. If you say you can have a drink on the line under certain circumstances, you're just muddying the water. Yes you can, if it's a disposable cup, but no you can't if the cup has no lid, but yes you can if you have a straw, but no you can't if the straw is in a non-disposable cup...Rules are only enforceable if they are clear and simple: NO FOOD OR DRINK ALLOWED. Period. I'm a pretty easy going guy, but when it comes to food safety issues, i have no heart. Health Inspectors LOVE me...

Read my new thread...
Joined Jul 2, 2011
Here is my opinion-F the department. Don't get me wrong they serve a good purpose,but sometimes its unrealistic. Slow the inspector down at the host stand, let the crew know to remove their bottles and get on with the day. I work in D.C. they are crazy here.
Joined May 29, 2011
I actually think a CamelBak is a very good idea. Our company has ex-HI employees that work for us and they come aroundand run inspections on a regular basis. Our company rules are harsher than the HD anyway so when the HI does come we are fine without the "scramble" to clean chit up. I am actually the biggest offender and am working on cleaning up my act. It is hard to break bad home cooking habits at work, but I am getting better.
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