Published: 11 May 2015
Q: I have recently been told by one of my customers that there is a law which requires that I serve each re-fill of his beer in a fresh clean glass. I regularly top up my customers’ drinks into the same glass and now I am worried that I have been breaking the law! Is this the case?
A: The Food Safety Act 1990 controls the way in which food (Beer is classed as food) is stored and given to the customer. Previous Regulations required that all “open” food be dispensed/served in a clean container. The newer Regulations appear to give the Environmental Health officer a discretion in relation to the container.
While it may well be the customer’s choice that they are allowed to re-use the glass, your Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) analysis may well recommend that a fresh glass should always be used to reduce the hazard of cross-contamination. For example, if nozzles contact glassware which has been contaminated in any way the nozzle will then contaminate the next glass, whether clean or not. Similarly where draught beers are dispensed and liquid is sucked back into the dispensing equipment, as does happen, contamination can occur. Finally, where optics are used for dispensing liquids, similar contamination can occur where glasses which are compromised touch the optic and contaminate the optic dispensing mechanism.
Your HACCP analysis will identify the hazard and associated risk, however if the local EHO has determined that each drink should be dispensed into a clean glass, to do other than comply with this requirement may render you liable to prosecution – and whilst you may be able to justify your position on the grounds of your HACCP analysis it may be wiser simply to comply.
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