ALE February 1999 No. 293

A Healthy Place?

Pub-related health issues seem likely to be particularly important in 1999. Large managed pubs will probably be able to cope effortlessly with whatever changes are required; it may be a different story for small community pubs.

Swan necks

Swan necks on beer engines, as favoured by most managed houses, have a health implication in that the nozzle usually goes into the glass. This means it's advisable to have a clean glass every time to avoid the possibility of any contamination from one use to the next. Fortunately these days many pubs routinely supply a fresh glass and most of the rest will either ask you or do so upon being asked.

Hand washing

There have been some hints in the trade press that there may be a crackdown in this area, enforcing the current regulations (which are just common sense really). Bar staff should wash their hands after each break or trip collecting glasses etc.


After much delay, the Government has announced its plans for a Food Standards Agency. The proposals include a licence fee of 90 per year for any business handling food. Day-to-day concerns will remain with local Environmental Health inspectors.


At the moment the Government is letting the industry have a voluntary clean air code, encouraging separate no-smoking areas and better ventilation and filtering. The Health & Safety Executive seems to be giving pubs until April to conform to the charter on smoking in public places, crucially including protecting staff from smoke. However there might yet be exemptions or delays. The next section summarises the charter.

Without any compulsion more and more pubs are making proper provision for non-smokers anyway. Merely designating a few tables as no-smoking is no longer adequate: customers increasingly expect genuine segregation. CAMRA's recent pubs survey showed that a quarter now have some form of no-smoking area: about 10% of pubs have a separate drinking area, about 5% a separate room, about 10% a no-smoking dining area but only about 0.1% are totally no-smoking.

ALE February 1999 No. 293 : Next section
Cambridge & District CAMRA