Column: Fine dining and our dirty little devices

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

I think it’s fair to say my cell phone wouldn’t qualify as being food safe.

I’ve never thought to actually clean my cell phone, nor considered its hygiene implications, until a recent visit with my brother. He’s a chef at a fancy restaurant, one where celebrities dine (I remain envious of the fact he got to meet Lou Reed).

During one conversation, he noted my cell phone and asked if I have to be on it all the time, understanding it’s likely an important tool of the job. I admitted I’m on it much more than I ever thought I would be, having put off acquiring one for as long as I could. My brother expressed his, well, irritation with the excess cell phone use he sees in his industry, where customer service and cleanliness are immeasurably important. One scenario of concern raised was the food server who takes their cell phone into the washroom with them. While they may have washed their hands for the minimal 20 seconds required before returning to service, it’s unlikely the cell phone received the same attention. And yet they’re back to checking messages or what have you, running their fingers across their screen – the same fingers that will be serving food momentarily.

Read more: Letter: Parents should be aware of cell-phone dangers

Read more: Guest column: Shuswap mother warns parents about Whisper

Read more: B.C. Mountie’s warning to not talk on phone to driver at drive-thru sparks online rage

Read more: Cell phone rings in 46th anniversary today

Why this irritates my brother, in addition to being a workplace distraction, cell phones can also be dirty little devices. One U.S. study (Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials 2009) took 200 cell phones from the hands of 200 participants and found 94 per cent demonstrated evidence of bacterial contamination. A University of Arizona microbiologist found cell phones to carry “10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats.” And in yet another study, this one from the UK, scientists found one in six mobile phones in Britain to be contaminated with E. coli. I read in another news story that pathogens like C. difficile can live on a cell phone for days. Gack.

Of course, you can use your cell phone to check all this out for yourself. But I think I’m on board with my brother – if you’re serving, preparing or doing anything with food, be it for yourself or others, maybe hold off on Googling until later.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Water quality makes swimming unsafe at three beaches near Salmon Arm

The Adams Lake Indian Band has issued a water qulity notice affecting beaches at three campgrounds.

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges cadet program on gendered policy

He wants the policy to be more gender inclusive

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Summer sun for Sunday

The forecast for the week ahead shows some rain but plenty of sun and warm tempertures.

In photos: Uptown Askew’s Family Day

The Uptown Askew’s Family Day event was filled with classic cars, face… Continue reading

Word on the street: Has the wet July weather put a damper on your summer any?

Due to the wetter-than-usual July weather, the Observer asked: Has the wet… Continue reading

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Donkeys await your hugs and scritches at anniversary event

Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge invites public to help celebrate 20 years of care.

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Second osprey chick dies, Okanagan web cam off

The second chick in an osprey nest featured on the Town of Osoyoos website has died

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

Fire department helps with body recovery in Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Police on scene at Penticton beach

RCMP were at a what is believed to be a crime scene near Skaha Beach Sunday

Community service ordered for Princeton man who stole from firefighters

A young man who stole food and money from the Princeton Volunteer… Continue reading

Okanagan rainbow crosswalk defaced

Vandals cover colours with white paint in District of Coldstream sometime overnight Saturday

Most Read