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Question #89643 posted on 05/07/2017 1:20 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Is it against health code regulation to bring an empty cardboard popcorn bucket previously purchased at Stadium Cinemas in Payson, UT into the lobby to receive the refill? I have been told that it is a health code violation and cannot be done. Yet, plastic buckets that are purchased at a much higher price from the theater will be refilled even when they're brought from home. Can you explain the rationale for such a law, if it exists? I believe it is a ruse by the theater just to make money. Thank you very much for your help on this.

-The Colleen Machine


Dear Colleen,

Unless you're really careful to pour the refill in a way that the pouring utensil never touches the dirty container, it is against the Utah Food Code to provide a refill in a container that has been previously soiled. It's possible that the theater is only making a distinction between cardboard and plastic to incentivize buying the larger portion, but it's not altogether unreasonable to say that plastic is safer to reuse than cardboard. As I'm sure you're aware, cardboard absorbs moisture and other substances more easily than plastic does, and that moisture makes it easy for mold and bacteria to grow, much more so than on plastic.

-The Entomophagist