Open for Business: KeepCup

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COVID-19 has asked us all to refresh our understanding of food health and safety regulations created by government to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

Following the direction of large chains, some cafés and roasters have temporarily banned reusables. COVID-19 puts us all on alert and we will all react differently. However, it’s important that the measures taken are grounded in science.

We know from the World Health Organisation, hand washing is one of the best ways to combat viral spread. The same approach applies to reusables. Clean hands. Clean KeepCup.

Vineet Menachery, Assistant Professor of Microbiology at the University of Texas Medical Branch, says “if you’re regularly cleaning stuff, you should be fine. I wouldn’t expect any virus to survive a dishwasher”.

Single-use does not equal sterile. Pathogens like viruses and bacteria don’t distinguish between reusable and single-use when attaching to surfaces. Disposable items can collect airborne pathogens sitting atop a coffee machine, during transport, storage or manufacture. When compared to properly washed reusables, single-use items are a poor substitute.

The Break Free From Plastic movement and Upstream reports, “single-use disposables can harbour viruses and pathogenic bacteria… According to a recently-released peer-reviewed scientific consensus statement, over 12,000 chemicals are used in food packaging, and many of them are hazardous to human health”.

As cafés begin to re-open, many are choosing to go completely free from single-use. Follow local food safety directives, wash your hands regularly with soap and water, and regularly clean surfaces. Accept only clean and dry KeepCups from customers and refuse any that are visibly dirty. Ask your customers to keep hold of their lid. Dosing from a reusable café cup to KeepCup or washing reusables prior to filling are examples of other short term measures some cafes have chosen to implement.

We’re all in this together. Here’s to the power of community, supporting each other, and listening to the science.

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– A message from KeepCup

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