Grantham Journal letter: Service industries must clean up this thoughtless act!

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Is it me, or has anyone else noticed the increasing tendency of people who work in the service industries to share their saliva with you?

I have been told by local supermarket supervisors that shop assistants who work the tills are trained not to lick their fingers prior to opening carrier bags – and indeed, it must surely be part of their in-house food hygiene training. However, there doesn’t seem to be any decrease in the number of these people whom I ask not to hand me back a bag which has their spit on it. Other customers, blissfully unaware of this, might well be spreading this ‘present’ to their faces and mouths – and also on to other people. Do any of the local supermarket managers monitor the personal hygiene of their staff?

I note also that a small eyebrow-threading business has been set up in the Isaac Newton Centre. Their practice entails passing cotton thread through their mouths before using that thread to shape customers’ eyebrows. Do these customers really like having the threaders’ saliva wiped around their faces?

As a microbiologist, I am aware that everybody’s saliva contains all of the bacteria, viruses and yeasts which are found in their mouths – and of the harm which many of these organisms can inflict (remember “Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases”?). As someone who is susceptible to chest infections, I feel strongly that these thoughtless, unhygienic practices should be stamped out.

David Feld

Third Avenue, Grantham