December’s Food Safety Tip – Employee Drinks

Kitchens are hot, and workers need to drink a beverage during work to stay hydrated. There are proper and incorrect ways of having a beverage while at work.

As with all safety steps, the goal is to prevent the potential for contamination of foods and surfaces. If using a screwtop bottle or flask, there is a strong possibility that your hand may touch the area where your mouth was just all over.

Drinks in food areas are required to be in a covered and strawed cup. The idea behind this is that the hand will not come in contact with an area that had mouth contact. A lot of people go green, and want to use a flask or non-disposable container. That is a good idea, but once again, there needs to be a straw. Not all flasks have a straw top available, so they should not be used. Sip cups like from your fav coffee shop are acceptable as well. Lastly, do not use ceramic or glass. These rules apply to both back and front of the house

Where can drinks be stored? Years ago, Many years ago, I worked with a cook that kept his drink by his cutting board, right next to his ashtray!!! Thankfully, times have changed!! Proper placement is away or under food areas. One facility I audit has a little shelf on the wall, and all cups are labeled and kept there. Designate a specific spot – smaller kitchens can have 1 central area, larger facilities should designate different areas.

Another option is to not allow cups at all during work, but have those paper cone dixie cups available. Staff can wet their whistle, and there is no concern with keeping the proper cup in the proper place.

Who knew drinking could be so complicated! But setting up the proper guidelines in your operation helps you provide safe food, and  keeps that green placard on the front door

To learn more detail about Food Safety procedures, or to set up an independent discounted audit of your facility, please contact Peter Bellisario of at  or (808) 491-7766. Check out my website –


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