Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary?

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bwave
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2013/01/02 21:06:48 (permalink)

Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary?

Am I the only one that can stand when restaurants put condiment cups on top of the food?! It's so unsanitary. You know they put them little cups of salad dressing first on a table to fill them, then on a rack in the fridge that probably hasn't been cleaned in months, then they put that dirty bottom (along with how many people have touched it now) directly on top of the salad (or other food). And so many of the places I go don't even date the cups, so who knows how well they've been rotated and how old they really are! 
#1

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    MacTAC
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/03 14:29:49 (permalink)
    You're not alone.
    #2
    mar52
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/03 15:10:24 (permalink)
    One of my friends takes wet wipes out of her purse and wipes down the salt and pepper shakers while waiting for her food.
     
    I think she's a bit over the top but her reasoning is spot on.
    #3
    iluvcfood
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/03 16:30:39 (permalink)
    That's not over the top.......  that's called paranoia! Think about how many doorbell buttons/elevator buttons/stair railings/bathroom door knobs etc that the average person touches/comes into contact in their lives!  The list goes on and on and on!  Does she wipe those down too before touching?  I worry more (if I were to worry about it at all) about catching something from hanging onto those nasty filthy rails found in movie theaters or dept. stores!  Have you ever seen anyone wipe them down ever?  I havent! 
    #4
    mar52
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/03 18:18:54 (permalink)
    Yes she does.  She's also rarely sick.
    #5
    baileysoriginal
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/03 20:51:41 (permalink)
    iluvcfood

    That's not over the top.......  that's called paranoia! Think about how many doorbell buttons/elevator buttons/stair railings/bathroom door knobs etc that the average person touches/comes into contact in their lives!  The list goes on and on and on!  Does she wipe those down too before touching?  I worry more (if I were to worry about it at all) about catching something from hanging onto those nasty filthy rails found in movie theaters or dept. stores!  Have you ever seen anyone wipe them down ever?  I havent! 

    You are exactly on target  - we all try our best to be sanitary in every way but if you're dealing with the general public at all - the stuff is everywhere!  For instance - I always use the sani wipes provided at the stores to do the shopping cart - but what about everything else in the store people have touched and infected that you touch also.  It's a no win thing. 
    #6
    MilwFoodlovers
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/03 21:37:48 (permalink)
    I work in a doctor's office and we have signs saying (at the front window) if you are sick, please take and wear a mask. We had a bunch of patients come in today because they had a bad cold with a bad cough and not a one put on a mask. Arrggghhh!
    #7
    1bbqboy
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/03 22:01:15 (permalink)
    What are condiment cups? You mean little individual paper dixie cup like things?
    #8
    Tony Bad
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/03 22:18:31 (permalink)
    bwave

    Am I the only one that can stand when restaurants put condiment cups on top of the food?! It's so unsanitary. You know they put them little cups of salad dressing first on a table to fill them, then on a rack in the fridge that probably hasn't been cleaned in months, then they put that dirty bottom (along with how many people have touched it now) directly on top of the salad (or other food). And so many of the places I go don't even date the cups, so who knows how well they've been rotated and how old they really are! 

     
    If the prep surfaces, fridge and people's hands are so filthy wouldn't the food also be contaminated? If they'll serve ancient dressing, why would you expect the salad to be fresh? I'd suggest you go to different places.
    #9
    felix4067
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/03 23:14:52 (permalink)
    1bbqboy

    What are condiment cups? You mean little individual paper dixie cup like things?

    Sometimes paper, often plastic, with or without lids. The little cups that get put on your plate (or on top of your food) that hold things like salad dressing, mayonnaise, etc.
    #10
    mar52
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/04 00:16:55 (permalink)
    I've never seen condiment cups on top of the food.  Usually it's not even on the plate.
     
    What about the air?  Would you rather eat by the ocean or at the top of a mountain? 
     
    Would a restaurant on a side street be healthier than one on a main boulevard?
     
    Sitting outdoors while dining as cars and buses pass by always seemed like people are defeating the purpose of eating in the open air.
     
    They have bring your own bottle restaurants... how about bring your own utensils?
     
    I"m kidding!
    #11
    bwave
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/04 02:08:47 (permalink)
    I'm referring to take out food  (which unfortunately I eat about 10 times a week due to work).   Apparently it must be cheaper to buy those little plastic condiment cups with lids and fill with generic salad dressing/ketchup than to purchase packets.

     It used to be with salads you'd get a pack or two of Ken's in the bag ALONGSIDE the salad.   Now they put the little condiment cups directly on top of your salad before closing the lid.    Or with ketchup, instead of packs inside the bag, they now set the cup of ketchup on top of your fries inside the styrofoam box  or inside the fry bag if use bags.   Many places in my area do this.    Further frustrating for me, is it's usually placed on the one of 2 cucumber slices or the ripest slice of tomato it can't be on top of a leaf of lettuce that you'd just throw out. 

    As far as question regarding well wouldn't you be concerned with food prep area if so concerned?    Well no, because these cups are filled by waitresses in their spare time.   If you go to a restaurant, they may have all the little cups lined up on their drink station counter, or a table out in dining area, and they're filling them from gallon jars of dressing, and then the phone rings and the pick up phone then come back, or get busy then come back.  This isn't out on "clean" stainless steel table in kitchen area.

    and they they are put in fridge on wire rack directly usually  (the one in takeout area with other salads and desserts etc.   While i'm certain the food in the containers might be safe, I'm sure the waitresses don't pull the racks out (or even wipe down) on a weekly basis on clean with hot soapy water or anything, they probably haven't been cleaned in months if ever.
     
    #12
    mar52
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/04 02:37:09 (permalink)
    I guess you could always ask for the condiments to be put in a separate bag.
     
     
    #13
    felix4067
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/04 11:06:01 (permalink)
    I almost never have that problem with  takeout. Around here, it's when you're in a sit-down restaurant. The little cups are always on the plate, and if there isn't room for them to shove some of the food aside in order to put them there, they just stick them on top. Most notably salads, as bwave pointed out, but also any dipping sauce. Especially appetizers. There's a place I go that has the most excellent sashimi tuna, calimari, and crab cake appetizer plate I often get for dinner. Each one comes with its own sauce, and the cups are nestled on the plate. There I'm not too worried because they are actual stoneware cups and I know they get washed and treated like the regular dishes, but that's how pretty much everywhere serves their dipping sauces. If you order a wet burrito pretty much anywhere around here, odds are good the little plastic cups of sour cream, salsa and guacamole will be sitting in the sauce with melted cheese holding them in place.
    post edited by felix4067 - 2013/01/04 11:07:14
    #14
    mar52
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/04 12:53:10 (permalink)
    But what about the plate your food is resting on?  It's not held in a sterile vacuum until used.  What about those boxes that hold your food?
     
    Pink (Why pink?) boxes from bakeries or flat boxes from pizza places set out all day and night while waiting to be filled.  They are a perfect playground for roaches.  Who knows what types of four-footed creatures run around in and on them at night?
     
    Ever see an employee give a box a shake before putting your food in it?  It happens!
     
    Same problem with tearing the top part of the straw wrapper off before serving the drink.... Who ever thought of that?
     
     
    #15
    felix4067
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/04 13:20:10 (permalink)
    The thing with the condiment cups that is different from all of that is the cups are 99% of the time filled in random places around the restaurant, and without the same rules for food handling that other areas have. Staff places a bunch of the cups on a table somewhere that may or may not have been wiped off recently, fill them, and quite often get interrupted while doing so, leaving them lying out in public areas. Other items such as you mention are not held in public-access areas, and are supposed to be held to certain sanitary standards.
     
    Do I think that always happens? No. Do I think everything I eat off of is sterile? Not even a little. Do I expect that? Nope. But what I don't like is seeing more than once a staff person filling condiment cups on a table in the dining room without wiping it off, not wearing gloves, who then runs over to the register to cash someone out, sneezes, and then comes back to continue filling the cups without washing hands. The salad dressing or whatever in the cup is still fine, but they are handling the outside of the cup with god knows what on their hands, and then placing the cups directly on my food. Blech.
    #16
    ChrisOC
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/04 15:49:40 (permalink)
    I also see a problem with self serve beverage cups.  The customer fills the cup with soda or coffee, then reaches for a lid.  Most of the time you see two or three stuck together.  The customer separates them with the fingernails, puts one on the cup and the rest back on the pile for the next person..
    #17
    Hot Dog Empire
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/04 19:29:17 (permalink)
    iluvcfood

      I worry more (if I were to worry about it at all) about catching something from hanging onto those nasty filthy rails found in movie theaters or dept. stores!  Have you ever seen anyone wipe them down ever?  I havent! 

    I came back from a Carnival cruise last Sept and I noticed that inside the bathrooms, to the left of the door, was a dispenser with wet wipes in it. You take one, use it to open the door and as you walked out - there was a trash can right there to dispose of it.
    Ever notice the amount of people that use public restrooms then just walk out without washing?
    #18
    chewingthefat
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/05 12:36:31 (permalink)
    http://www.usc.edu/hsc/info/pr/hmm/00-01winter/germs.html
    Good article on why some germs are good for the immune system!
    #19
    Cosmos
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/07 21:26:46 (permalink)
    Germo-phobes should probably not go out in public at all...stay at home and stay sanitary, and safe.
    #20
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Are Condiment Cups Unsanitary? 2013/01/07 21:35:34 (permalink)
    That steering wheel in the car is full of germs. Isotoner! Isotoner!
    #21
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