At music or sporting events, when I take my plastic cup back for a refill I'm usually told that the health code forbids this. Then they give me a brand-new cup; the old one goes to the landfill. Isn't this far more wasteful than the straw thing? What g—[click] ALSO, PLEASE TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE LIVE DR. KNOW EVENT ON SATURDAY, SEPT. 7! [click]—gives? —Jeff S.
Why, Jeff, how thoughtful of you to ask! I'll answer your second question first.
Yes, the moment you've all been waiting for is almost upon us. "That's Edutainment! With Dr. Know," the multimedia extravaganza that I (along with a bunch of more talented people) have been slaving over for the past four months is THIS COMING SATURDAY.
With live music, comedy, animation, and the occasional giant costumed theme character, this show will truly be a feast for the senses. Deets in the fine print below.
Now, on to your first question. I recently spent a bracing afternoon unwinding with the 126-page "Oregon Health Authority: Food Sanitation Rules," or OHAFSR. Sure enough, rule 4-502.13(a) states, "Single-service and single-use articles may not be reused."
Seems clear enough, right? In fact, by the standards of OHAFSR—a text bristling with excruciatingly specific reg-speak—it's a statement of near-Hemingwayesque pithiness.
Maybe that's why it's better remembered than the more stylistically typical 3-304.16(a), which prohibits refilling single-use cups in all circumstances "…except for refilling a consumer's drinking cup or container without contact between the pouring utensil and the lip-contact area of the drinking cup or container." It may take a minute to parse that, but it basically says refills are OK if you're careful.
That said, food-service workers don't usually spend their off hours poring over these regulations with Talmudic intensity—and those who work at big arenas may be particularly inexperienced, since they haven't yet graduated to a job that gets tips.
The upshot is that a lot of folks aren't 100 percent sure just what the rule is—but they do know it's definitely legal to pour a fresh beer into a fresh cup. For $12.50 an hour, why risk it?
"That's Edutainment!" Dr. Know's TED-talk-on-acid-plus-sketch-comedy gala drops Saturday, Sept. 7, at Alberta Rose Theatre—doors at 7 pm, curtain at 8 sharp. Tix at doctorknow.live/tickets!