Why Many Coffee Shops Don’t Allow Customers to Bring Their Own Cup, Unlike Starbucks

More than 125 health experts ensure your own glasses are safe and hygienic (REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis)

Starbucks just started allowing customers to use their own reusable cups for in-car and mobile ordering. The move is aimed at helping the retail giant. coffee Reduce waste from disposable cups.

The company said the change makes it the first national coffee retailer to accept reusable cups for all order types. Clients Starbucks Those who placed an order at the chain’s cafes could now receive drinks in their own glasses.

But at a time when reusable water bottles are so trendy that people stand in line for hours for certain brands, and as water bottle refill stations proliferate, some may wonder: why not? Are there more cafes offering alternatives to disposable cups?

One reason is companies’ concerns about hygiene, a common problem with reusable food and beverage containers that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. corona virus. At the beginning of the pandemic, many establishments, including Starbuckstemporarily stopped accepting reusable items, prompting more than 125 health experts to sign a letter supporting the use of personal containers.

The letter, which cited research, noted that reusable cups can be safe if basic hygiene practices are followed. But while many pandemic-related restrictions have since been lifted, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to bring your reusable cup into any coffee shop and refill it.

“The reason given for this is food safety, but from a risk perspective it is not a reasonable reason,” he said. Benjamin ChapmanHead of the Department of Agricultural and Humanitarian Sciences North Carolina State University. “The risks are very, very low,” he said.

Cafeterias must balance environmental trends with hygiene and sanitation concerns and various legislative provisions at the local and state level (illustrative image by Infobae).

Food and beverage businesses, including cafes, have long discussed how to ensure reusable items are clean, he said. Chapman.

“If it’s a reusable cup, it’s not under the company’s control and they don’t know what someone put in the cup beforehand,” he said.

Some locations may also not package reusable products in accordance with local or state health department regulations. The federal food code doesn’t include many specific parameters for reusable items, he said, meaning standards may vary by region.

Even if local laws allow it and customers show up with cups labeled as clean, some businesses may still worry about being held liable if someone gets sick from a reusable container.

“The biggest concern is how comfortable the industry feels about cleaning and disinfecting something they can’t control when it comes to glass,” he says.

With packaged disposable cups, retailers have greater assurance of cleanliness. And unlike disposable cups, personal cups can come in all shapes and sizes. Some may have ridges or other features that make them difficult to clean thoroughly.

As a pioneer in environmental responsibility, Starbucks encourages customers to do their part to reduce waste by bringing their own cups when shopping (illustrative image by Infobae).

After temporarily suspending the use of personal cups in cafes during the pandemic, Starbucks In 2021, people are again allowed to bring their own containers. But numerous measures have been taken to address potential hygiene issues.

For example, a coffee chain will only accept personal cups that its staff deems clean. Workers also place orders through a contactless process that involves placing a reusable cup in a ceramic mug.

The best practice for any consumer who wants to use a reusable cup is to wash the containers at home first, Chapman said.

While some coffee retailers may still be concerned about people bringing in contaminated containers that could make them sick, he said the potential hygiene risks associated with reusable cups are generally low.

Coffee is not a great source of nutrients for pathogens. Drinks with dairy or non-dairy milk can go bad, but you probably shouldn’t leave the cup unwashed because it will be unpleasant or smelly. “We are not aware of any foodborne pathogens transmitted through reusable cups,” he added.

Washington Post

Allison Chiu is a climate reporter for The Washington Post. She previously covered health issues and worked nights on the Post’s Morning Mix team.

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