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Maine’s Food Code Discriminates Against Bartenders With Hairy Chests, Pits, Backs

So upset are patrons of Mainestreet bar in Ogunquit, Maine, they organized a protest after a health inspector told owner Norm Paquin he needed to have bartenders put their shirts back on, because pouring Jack Daniels without one is a “health hazard.” Well, depending on your body hair.

Some 60 white shirts tagged with “Yaffe’s Gaffe” — in reference to town resident Harriet Yaffe, who took issue with the bar’s bare chested guys — were going to be distributed for the rally cry.

In the meantime Code Enforcement Officer Paul Lempicki, who originally cited Mainestreet for the violation, is working with Town Manager Tom Fortier and the Department of Health and Human Services to see if it’s really a violation to have men’s nipples on display behind the bar. And if it isn’t? Fortier says he’ll issue a public apology to the bar.

But might the policy differ from one bartender to the next, depending on whether he’s hairy (and where the hair is)? Seacoast Online posits:

According to Article 2-402.11(B) in the state’s Food Code, counter staff at an establishment serving food are not required to wear hairnets, beard restraints, hats or clothing that covers body hair. All other employees who work around open food are required to cover up.

[Peggy Albert of HHS] said the counter exception does not apply to Mainestreet’s bartenders, however. “Bartenders are not counter staff,” she said. “They’re really prep staff. They pour open liquor. Because everything is open like that, he has to have some type of hair restraint. If he’s got a hairy chest, he’s got to wear a shirt.” She said if a bartender is hairless on his stomach, back, chest and armpits, then the issue becomes a “local decision.”

Sorry, bears, but it looks like laser hair removal is now a job requirement.

[photo via\

By:           Sarah Nigel
On:           Jul 26, 2010
Tagged: , , ,
  • 10 Comments
    • CertainPOV
      CertainPOV

      So, following Peggy Albert’s logic, EVERY bartender in the state of Maine has to wear a hairnet in order to mix a cocktail.

      Jul 26, 2010 at 3:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RomanHans
      RomanHans

      A martini is food? Hey, she can pack my lunch any time.

      Jul 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RJ
      RJ

      Since when have bartenders had to wear hair nets?

      Jul 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      I’ve always wondered about the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” stickers, because they generally say “by order of the health department” in fine print. Why would the health department care one way or the other about whether customers are wearing shirts and shoes? (This article reminded me of that, but doesn’t quite apply even if that’s a legitimate interpretation because it only applies to employees.)

      Jul 26, 2010 at 4:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TomDC
      TomDC

      @RomanHans
      Martini is considered “food” by some (most?) in the restaurant business because it’s something your customers ingest. Similarly, water and ice are also considered “food.”

      Jul 26, 2010 at 7:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TomDC
      TomDC

      If this decision is upheld, I wonder what they’re going to force long-sleeved shirts on those with overly abundant arm hair…

      Jul 26, 2010 at 7:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      I’d love to know why my comment at #4 has a moderation flag on it.

      Jul 27, 2010 at 4:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • L.
      L.

      @Hyhybt: I’m guessing it didn’t wear the requisite hairnet.

      Jul 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Amalgam
      Amalgam

      Some guys like me have hairy hands. So now bartenders have to wear gloves?

      Jul 28, 2010 at 10:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      Interesting… this is partly a test, though if anyone has an answer to the question I’d love to hear it. OK, here goes:

      I’ve always wondered about the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” stickers, because they generally say “by order of the health department” in fine print. Why would the health department care one way or the other about whether customers are wearing shirts and shoes? (This article reminded me of that, but doesn’t quite apply even if that’s a legitimate interpretation because it only applies to employees.)

      Read more: http://www.queerty.com/maines-food-code-discriminates-against-bartenders-with-hairy-chests-pits-backs-20100726/comment-page-1/#comment-327679#ixzz0v2x7cqiW

      Jul 29, 2010 at 1:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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