Are Copper Mugs Safe?
Copper mugs are safe to drink from, and most Moscow mule mugs are lined with another material that fully eliminates the concern of copper exposure and copper toxicity. Even with an unlined mug, copper poisoning is only possible if there is a great amount of copper exposure to the body. As we explain below, it is improbable that a guest will be exposed to such a large amount of copper when drinking out of a copper mug at a bar.Shop All Copper Mugs
Is It Safe to Drink out of Unlined Copper Mugs?
Unlined copper mugs are generally safe to drink out of, as copper toxicity is highly unlikely. According to a study done by the National Research Council (US) Committee, copper toxicity symptoms only occurred after ingesting 30 milligrams of copper per liter that had been sitting in an unlined, pure copper mug for hours.
This means that a guest would need to consume a liter’s worth of Moscow mules that had been sitting in an unlined copper mug for several hours before copper poisoning is a possibility.
Lined vs. Unlined Copper Mugs
Copper toxicity is not likely for the Moscow mule lover drinking out of a pure, unlined copper mug. Nevertheless, it is impossible to rule out the potential. As a result, some bar owners might prefer to stock up on lined copper mugs for easier upkeep, fewer health concerns, or to comply with state regulations on lined copper mug use. Many copper mugs that you will find for purchase are copper-plated over stainless steel, nickel, or tin, or are lined with those materials.
Copper Mug Safety
Safety concerns regarding the copper mug were raised when the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division issued an advisory bulletin in July of 2017. In this report, the Division notified the public that Iowa would no longer serve cocktails in unlined copper mugs based on the FDA’s stance.
Why Did Iowa Ban Unlined Copper Mugs?
Iowa banned unlined copper mugs in accordance with the FDA's suggestion. The FDA asserts that copper may leach from an unlined copper mug into food and beverage that has a pH lower than 6. As such, the FDA suggests that establishments do not allow copper to contact food and drink with that acidity level. A Moscow mule falls under this category because lime juice and ginger beer both have a pH lower than 6.
However, many states allow unlined copper cup use in bars. Be sure to check with your state regulations to see which type of copper mug to use.
Unlined or lined copper mugs are both unlikely to cause copper poisoning at your bar. To fully ensure drinking safety, make sure to properly care for your copper mugs. When these mugs are correctly maintained, your guests can enjoy drinking from this quaint, special cup for years to come.
Food Safety Guidelines
Food safety guidelines are put in place to keep customers safe and prevent the risk of a foodborne illness outbreak. Any operation that serves food should establish protocols that meet the legal requirements for safe food handling. In this guide, we'll outline the most important aspects of food safety to help you build an effective program for your business and pass your next health inspection. Click below to learn about important food safety programs: Personal Hygiene Proper Food Handling Cleaning and Sanitizing Pest Control Purchase from Approved Suppliers Food Safety Training Food Safety Guidelines for Restaurants We’ll cover the most important aspects of a successful food safety program so you can prevent a foodborne illness outbreak and keep your guests safe. 1. Personal Hygiene Poor hygiene is one of the most common causes of foodborne illness, but an outbreak can be prevented by establishing policies and following up with your staff regularly. Keep the following factors in mind when you create a hygiene program: Handwashing Washing hands takes mere minutes, and it’s a crucial step in preventing the spread of germs that cause foodborne illness. A foodservice handler who forgets to wash their hands one time could potentially contaminate food. That’s why it’s important to install handwashing sinks in proper locations and keep them stocked with plenty of hand soap and paper towels. Train your staff on the correct way to wash their hands and post reminders at each hand sink. Hygiene Practices Personal cleanliness plays a major role in food safety. Soiled uniforms, aprons, and even uncovered hair can become a source of contamination. A good hygiene policy should cover the following practices: Hair Restraints - Food handlers should wear clean hats or hair restraints (including beard restraints) Clean Work Uniforms - All uniforms and aprons should be laundered. Soiled uniforms and aprons should be stored away from food prep areas. Jewelry - Jewelry should be removed before handling food because it can harbor germs or accidentally fall into food. A plain wedding band is acceptable. Eating and Drinking - Employees should never eat or drink near food and food prep areas. Beverages should be placed in a cup secured with a lid and straw. Staff members should handle the beverage carefully and keep it away from food, utensils, and equipment. Staff Illnesses Any time an employee becomes ill, it poses a safety risk for your guests and staff. Take the proper precautions with any sickness, but be on the lookout for certain pathogens that are notorious for spreading foodborne illness in foodservice environments. Employees should notify a manager if they have contracted an illness from the following pathogens: Norovirus - very contagious and often spread through hand-to-food contact Shigella spp. - often spread by unwashed hands or contaminated water Nontyphoidal Salmonella - commonly linked to poultry, eggs, meat, and dairy E. coli - commonly linked to undercooked ground beef Hepatitis A - handwashing is the best defense because this pathogen is not destroyed by cooking Salmonella Typhi - commonly linked to ready-to-eat food Handwashing and cooking foods to the correct internal temperature are two of the best defenses against these pathogens. Staff members experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, or jaundice should be excluded from working in your operation until they receive a written release from a doctor. Disposable Glove Use Wearing single-use gloves is an effective precaution but only when done properly. Hands must be washed before putting on gloves, and gloves should be changed at the appropriate times. Post reminders for your staff so they know when to change single-use gloves: After handling raw meat Before touching ready-to-eat food When gloves become dirty or torn Before starting a new task After 4 hours of continuous use Back to Top 2. Proper Food Handling Proper food handling starts when you receive a food shipment and continues until the food is served to your guests. Every step along the way requires strict controls and continuous monitoring. Foods that require special handling are called TCS foods (time-temperature control for safety). These foods provide a more hospitable environment for pathogens to grow, especially at certain temperatures. Throughout all the steps below, TCS food should be kept out of the temperature danger zone, the range from 41 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Receiving and Handling Train your kitchen staff to be food-safe at all times throughout receiving, prepping, and cooking. Receiving - Inspect your food shipments carefully and check temperatures. All TCS foods should be received at the right temperature and stored immediately. Frozen foods should be frozen solid on arrival. Ice crystals and water stains on the packaging are signs that the food may have thawed during transport. Reject any foods that do not meet temperature requirements or appear to have been time-temperature abused. Cross Contamination - Germs can be spread by hands, but also by contaminated foods, tools, and equipment. When raw foods like uncooked chicken come into contact with prep surfaces, pathogens can be left behind to contaminate other foods. Prevent cross-contamination by keeping foods separated, using color-coded kitchen tools, and cleaning and sanitizing equipment after use. Cooking Food Correctly - Cooking foods to the correct internal temperatures is an important safeguard against the spread of pathogens. Some pathogens are spread by unwashed hands, and some may already be present in foods like eggs and beef. To destroy these germs, foods need to be cooked to a safe minimum temperature and tested with a clean, reliable thermometer. Holding and Storage Foods should be kept at safe temperatures throughout holding and storage. Food Holding - Food holding is the practice of cooking foods ahead of time and holding them at a certain temperature. A soup that is made in the morning and stored in a soup warmer is being "hot-held". If the temperature of the soup falls in the danger zone, pathogens can grow to harmful levels. Any foods that are hot-held or cold-held must be kept at safe temperatures and monitored periodically to make sure they do not enter the temperature danger zone. Proper Cooling - Foods can also enter the temperature danger zone when they are not cooled correctly. If hot dishes are prepared ahead of time and placed into cold storage to be reheated later, they must be cooled using a two-step process. Food must be cooled from 135 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit within 2 hours. Then cooled from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 41 degrees Fahrenheit within 4 hours. This prevents the foods from lingering too long in the temperature danger zone. Food Storage - The method you use to store foods affects food safety. Always think first in, first out (FIFO) when putting foods away in storage. Push newer foods to the back of the shelf, and keep the older foods in the front so they get used first. TCS foods should be placed on cold storage shelves in a certain order to prevent liquids from dripping on the foods below and causing a contamination issue. The correct storage order from top-to-bottom is ready-to-eat foods, seafood, whole cuts of beef and pork, ground meat and fish, and whole or ground poultry. Back to Top 3. Cleaning and Sanitizing It's a common misconception that cleaning and sanitizing are the same thing. They are two different methods, but both are crucial steps to maintaining a food-safe kitchen. Cleaning removes dirt and debris from a surface while sanitizing reduces pathogens on a surface. How to Clean and Sanitize Food Contact Surfaces Surfaces that don't come into contact with food only need to be cleaned and rinsed. But food-contact surfaces like prep tables, tools, and equipment must be cleaned and sanitized. Follow these steps to clean and sanitize correctly: Wipe the surface to remove any crumbs or food particles Wash the surface with an approved food-safe cleaning solution Rinse the surface with clean water Sanitize the surface with an approved sanitizing solution mix to the right concentration Let the surface air dry To keep food-contact surfaces free of pathogens, cleaning and sanitizing must be performed at the appropriate times. Train your staff to sanitize surfaces when they complete a task or start prepping a different food. They should also stop and sanitize if they are interrupted in their task and after using the same surface for 4 continuous hours. Cleaning and Sanitizing Equipment Kitchen equipment is more challenging to clean and sanitize than a smooth surface like a prep table because there are moving parts. For the best sanitizing method, refer to the manual for each specific type of equipment. Follow our guidelines below for general equipment sanitizing: Make sure the equipment is powered off and unplugged Disassemble any removable parts Wash all parts by hand or run through the dishwasher Clean any food debris from equipment surfaces Wash the equipment with an approved cleaner, rinse, then sanitize Let parts and equipment air dry before reassembling Dishwashing Guidelines What other items in your restaurant come into contact with food? You'll need to establish a dishwashing program for all the cookware, utensils, and tableware you use daily. Flatware, dinnerware, and glassware can be run through a dishwasher, but larger items like cooking pots and pans must be cleaned and sanitized manually in a three-compartment sink. High Temp Dishwashers - These dishwashers use hot water to clean and sanitize dishes. To be effective at destroying germs, the water in the dishwasher must reach a temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit in the final rinse. Chemical Dishwashers - Unlike a high-temp machine, a chemical dishwasher relies on chemical sanitizers to eliminate pathogens. Three-Compartment Sinks - It's possible to clean and sanitize manually in a three-compartment sink, but only if the steps are performed correctly. Refer to our three-compartment sink guide to learn the best way to use this method. Back to Top 4. Pest Control No one wants to think about pests invading their restaurant. Unfortunately, ongoing prevention is required to keep your business pest-free. Unwanted critters can damage your facility, but the biggest threat from pests is their potential to spread diseases and foodborne illness. To create a successful pest control program for your restaurant, there are three components to keep in mind: deny access, deny food and shelter, and work with a licensed pest control professional. Learn how to enforce these pest control tips below: Deny Access Denying access to pests means preventing them from gaining entry to your building in the first place. Check all food deliveries carefully for potential hitchhikers and reject shipments with any signs of pest activity. Inspect your building to find any openings where pests can enter. Seal off cracks, install door sweeps, and keep windows and vents screened off. Use air curtains above doorways with outdoor access to deter airborne pests from entering. Deny Food and Shelter Remove the temptation that attracts pests to your building. Take out garbage periodically throughout the day, keep trash containers clean, and make sure dumpsters are closed securely. Any spills, crumbs, and food debris should be cleaned up immediately. It's crucial to clean beneath equipment and never leave food attractants out overnight when pests are more active. This includes the dining room and front-of-house! Always clean out crumb-catchers and sweep beneath booths and tables. Work with a Licensed Pest Control Professional If you've tried denying pests entry, food, and shelter but somehow they have found a way in, it's time to call a professional. Don't wait! As soon as you see any signs of a pest infestation, no matter how small, find a licensed pest control technician immediately. Do not attempt to set traps or put out poison yourself. A pest control professional will know exactly what to look for and how to handle each pest in the safest, most effective way. 5. Purchase from Approved Suppliers You can do everything right and follow all the food safety guidelines available, but if the source of your food isn't reputable, you have a big problem on your hands. This is especially true for ready-to-eat foods like produce that don't get the benefit of high-heat cooking to destroy pathogens. Lettuce can become contaminated by agricultural run-off and absorb tainted water into the leaves. This type of contamination can't be removed by washing because the germs are inside the produce. This is why outbreaks from contaminated romaine lettuce have frequently made the headlines. The only way to prevent this type of occurrence is to buy produce (and all other foods) from an approved supplier. So what exactly is an approved supplier, and how do you find one? Here are some tips: Never buy from roadside vendors, farmer's markets, or local farmers unless they are approved commercial suppliers. Choose a commercial supplier that meets the requirements of local, state, and federal laws. A reputable supplier should be able to provide inspection reports that cover all practices from receiving to staff training. Be especially picky when choosing suppliers of TCS foods. Even with a supplier you trust, you should still inspect every shipment carefully and reject anything suspicious. Back to Top 6. Training and Monitoring Once you've outlined a food safety program, you'll need to establish standard operating procedures to support your goals. Strict monitoring is required and your staff will need continuous training to uphold the SOPs you've created. Standard Operating Procedures First of all, what is an SOP? A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a fancy term for a written rule or guideline. Putting a procedure in writing is a way to hold your staff accountable for following the policies of your food safety program. SOPs also provide instructions that your team can follow even when a manager isn't present, which helps make your kitchen more efficient. When writing SOPs, keep the following things in mind: Who will perform the task What supplies are needed to perform the task Where will the task be performed When should the task be performed How will the task be performed Training Once you have established all SOPs in writing, you can begin to train your staff. Your efforts will be more successful if you think of training as an ongoing necessity, not a one-time obligation. New team members need to go through a training program when they are hired, and veteran employees always benefit from a refresher course. As you create a training module, utilize different methods like training videos, written instructions, demos, and role-playing exercises. Place visual aids like posters throughout your kitchen as helpful reminders. Monitoring The only way to be sure that your SOPs are being followed is to establish monitoring practices and quality control. Temperature checking is one of the most important examples of a monitoring procedure. Keep a written record that shows the date and time of the temp check, the temperature of the food, and the initials of the employee performing the check. The team member should also indicate if any corrective actions were needed. Monitoring can also be as simple as watching your team members or appointing someone else to observe that SOPs are being followed. If you see a team member fail to wash their hands at the appropriate time, it's an opportunity to re-train that employee. Sometimes corrective actions may need to be taken if food safety is at risk. Make sure that you consistently monitor your food safety program to ensure its success. There is a lot to cover with food safety, and one of the best ways to keep your team members educated is to require food handlers certification for all back-of-house employees. At least one certified team member should be on staff at all times. Follow our guidelines for general food safety, but refer to the requirements of your local regulatory authority to ensure compliance.
Is Lead Crystal Safe?
You may have seen lead crystal glasses, decanters, and goblets in movies, or perhaps encountered them in antique shops or relatives' homes. These glass items often feature intricate designs that add three-dimensional texture and help catch the light at every angle, giving them an upscale look perfect for formal events. While lead glass crystal was commonly used in the past, more and more people today are questioning its safety. Keep reading to learn what lead crystal is, if it's dangerous, and what alternatives are available. What Is Lead Crystal? Lead crystal is a kind of glass that contains lead oxide. The addition of lead oxide raises the glass's refractive index, a measurement of how fast light passes through something. This means that lead glass has a more reflective appearance than traditional glass. Leaded glass also stays malleable for longer periods of time when heated, making it easier for artisans to work with. Is Lead Crystal Safe? No, it is not recommended that you drink out of lead crystal pieces. The greatest risk of drinking from lead crystal is the consumption of any lead that may leach into your beverage. Similar to the debate on copper cups, many people argue that the amount of lead that makes its way into a drink depends on the amount of time that the liquid has spent inside the vessel. While it’s true that the lead content in a liquid can increase over time, studies have shown that no amount of lead is safe for consumption. Lead has been linked with blood disorders and can have a negative impact on the human nervous system. It is especially dangerous for children because it can cause permanent brain damage. So, it makes sense that lead is no longer used for many of the products it once was and that everyday use of lead crystal has fallen out of favor. Does All Crystal Have Lead? No, most modern glassware that is manufactured for drinking purposes does not contain any lead. Is Lead Crystal Real Crystal? No, lead crystal has a misleading name because it is not crystal at all. It is merely glass that contains lead oxide. In a scientific sense, the word “crystal” refers to the molecular structure of a material. Here are some examples of solids that have a microscopic “crystal lattice” structure: Diamonds Salt Ice Lead crystal simply became the common name for leaded glass. Glass is considered a “non-crystalline amorphous solid,” meaning that the structure of its molecules differs from that of a true crystal. How to Identify Lead Crystal Lead crystal is often found in the form of vintage decanters, glasses, and goblets. The safest way to know if something is lead crystal is by having it lab tested. However, if you'd like to test items in your home, in an antique shop, or at a flea market, you can try the following techniques to identify the differences between crystal and glass. 1. Tap It with a Metal Utensil The easiest way to identify lead crystal is by tapping it gently with a knife—if it makes a drawn-out chiming sound, chances are that it’s lead crystal. Regular glass tends to make a duller, briefer sound when struck. 2. Compare Its Weight to Traditional Glassware Because it contains lead oxide, lead crystal is heavier than traditional glass. One clue that your piece is lead crystal is if it is much heavier than a glass piece of similar size. 3. Look for a Prism Lead crystal will give off a rainbow prism when you shine light through it. While some common glass is cut to do the same, this could be a helpful clue. 4. Look for Smooth Cuts When looking at the decorative cuts made on the piece, take note of whether the cuts' edges are rounded or sharp. Lead crystal tends to have cuts with rounded edges, while glass cuts are sharper. Safe Alternatives to Leaded Glass There are plenty of glassware collections that are designed to mimic the classic style of lead crystal without any of the hazardous material included. You can find some of the most iconic products that were commonly made of lead crystal, including: Rocks Glasses You can serve whiskey and other classic cocktails on the rocks in an old fashioned glass. These products are available with different patterns, so you can choose the look that suits your decor. Glass Decanters Decanters are not only an attractive way to serve wine, but they are also great for helping certain varieties develop flavor. You can find glass decanters in antique or modern styles to create a cohesive presentation. Glass Champagne Flutes For your next special occasion, you can choose glass champagne flutes as a safe alternative to lead crystal choices. Some options feature cut glass designs, while others are smooth and sleek for a contemporary appearance. Lead crystal, while not crystal at all, was once prized for its highly reflective appearance. Today, users are wary of serving liquids in a vessel that contains lead. Fortunately, the style of traditional lead crystal can easily be mimicked with traditional glassware, so you can get the vintage look without the risk of lead poisoning. Next time you're browsing around a flea market and you find a piece that catches your eye, use this article as your lead crystal safety guide. <aside class="pquote"> <blockquote> The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details. </blockquote> </aside>
How to Serve Wine & Cocktails On Tap
Imagine a world where every cocktail you served tasted the same no matter which bartender made it, and every glass of wine was handled properly stayed as fresh as the first. You can stop imagining now because taps aren’t just for beer anymore! Serving wine and cocktails on tap is becoming a popular trend in many restaurants and bars. Having these drinks ready to serve straight from the tap not only cuts down on drink preparation time, but it also ensures consistency among drinks. In this article, you’ll learn whether or not these systems are beneficial in your particular establishment, and if they are, we’ll give some recommendations for your setup. Shop All Wine Dispensers Wine on Tap Do you ever wonder why certain types of wine can’t be ordered by the glass and only by the bottle? Truth is wine is a tricky beverage. Traditionally, it goes through a rather pricey packaging process. It has to be bottled, labeled, printed, sealed, and cased. Then, the cases finally get shipped to the restaurant or bar who has to pay for all of those costs. If all the wine is sold in a timely fashion, then it’s no big deal. But, for many establishments, someone will order a single glass of premium wine, and then that wine won’t get ordered again for some time after. Once a bottle of wine is uncorked, the wine begins to oxidize. Oxidation changes the taste of the wine the longer it sits in the bottle, even if it's recorked. If someone orders a glass of wine from a bottle that’s been opened a week previously, it won’t taste nearly as fresh, and it won’t have the flavor it should. More often than not, the glass will be sent back, and the bartender will have to pour out the entire bottle of wine. That’s why it’s too risky for many establishments to offer wine by the glass. But now, there’s a solution to this wine wasting! Benefits of a Wine Tap System More cost-efficient to package stainless steel kegs than multiple bottles Many kegs are reusable Keg is lighter weight than a case of bottles No oxidation since wine is constantly pressurized by an inert gas that prevents oxidation The last glass of the keg is as fresh as the first More premium options by the glass can be made available No wasted time pulling corks No bottles, corks, and cardboard boxes to get rid of at the end of the night Increased wine sales since customers can order premium options by the glass Kegs take up less storage space than bottles One keg equals approximately 26 bottles Setting up a Wine Dispensing System On average, it can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 to have a wine dispensing unit set up in your restaurant or bar; however, this cost will quickly pay for itself due to savings per bottle and savings from waste. In fact, many establishments will see a return on their initial investment within nine months. Setting up a wine tap system is similar to setting up a beer dispenser. First, you simply have to decide where to place your dispensing system. Do you serve a lot of wine on a daily basis? If so, you should consider locating it centrally behind-the-bar. If wine orders aren't nearly as popular as beer orders, then maybe you can place your wine dispenser off to one side. You also have to consider the special requirements for a wine tap. The valve coupler, tubing nipples, and faucet must all be constructed of 304 grade stainless steel. If wine doesn’t flow through a special 304 grade draft system, then the flavor will be affected. You must also have a 304 stainless steel oxygen barrier to prevent oxygen permeation, as well as an air tank that has a blend of 75 percent Nitrogen and 25 percent CO2. This blend preserves the wine’s quality and freshness and is readily available in many bars because Guinness also requires this gas blend. Cocktails on Tap Now, it’s time to picture this: It’s thirty minutes prior to your home team’s kickoff time. You own a sports bar, and the lines are at least five people deep. You have a cocktail special, but you still have to take the time to measure out perfect rum to lemonade ratios. Then, you get a complaint about someone’s drink not being as strong at their friend’s. There has to be an easier way! Now there is. Outfit your high volume sports bar, night club, or casual restaurant with a cocktail dispensing machine that offers liquor on tap. These types of machines hold bottles of liquor on a tray that slides out for easy refilling. They also hold the bag-in-box mixer of your choice. With the simple pull of the unit’s tap handle, you’ll have a perfectly mixed and consistent drink within seconds. And, the best part about this is, you didn’t have to measure out a single ounce of alcohol! Benefits of a Cocktails on Tap System Makes 5 – 7 cocktails per minute, compared to the 1 drink per minute average when done by hand Consistent drinks every time, so nobody gets a stronger or weaker beverage than someone else Units come prefixed with a set liquor to mixer ratio No more waste from over pouring Keeps lines in busy bars moving quickly Less dirty dishes from not using shakers and jiggers Attractive styling of tap head lets you advertise drink specials and drive impulse sales Setting up a Cocktail Dispensing System A cocktail dispensing system is very easy to install! Its compact size allows its base to fit underneath your bar, while the tap platform slides onto the bartop with no mounting hardware required. An included hose attaches to the tap and connects to the base, allowing you to dispense product. These units are also powered by a CO2 tank and require no electricity, which means you can place your unit almost anywhere. Simply choose a spot where bartenders can easily access the tap during happy hour, kickoff, or a special event. If you're looking to reduce wine waste, offer more premium wine options by the glass, and ultimately increase wine sales, then offering wine on tap is a great choice for your restaurant, upscale bar, or lounge. However, if you're running a crowded sports bar, night club, or casual restaurant, you will benefit from having cocktails on tap. Not only will these systems cut down drink prep time, but they'll also provide consistency among drinks.