Caution: Tea be Hot!

This is really a comment to a story I read on CBC through MSN News, but felt it better be left in a blog article, instead of me leaving a very long comment. The story is about a little boy who was accidentally burned when a hot cup of tea from Tim Horton’s was knocked over. The child suffered serious burns, and was rushed to hospital a few minutes later.

Thankfully, the little guy will be alright. I am not commenting on what happened, but his father’s, Adam Dreece, response to it. On the one hand, this was an accident that can happen in any restaurant. On the other hand, he thinks Tim Horton’s should perhaps re-think certain things. In the news article he states: “Accidents happen, but I can’t believe that the tea needed to be that scalding hot” and that Tim Horton’s staff should be trained in first aid.

I could go on a long diatribe about how the father probably should’ve been careful and not look away, the practicality of Tim Horton’s staff all needing first aid training, and even the reality that tea is hot. I will not. I will, however, give some answers to why the tea is so hot to begin with: It is probably illegal for the tea to be at a reduced temperature than how it was served for you.

70307252.pngBecause tea is meant to be a hot beverage, it has to be at such hot temperatures at the beginning in order to ensure it is safe to drink. Why would it be unsafe? Because water at such high temperatures kill bacteria, and other pathogens, that cause food borne illnesses. Until the tea goes into the customer’s hands, the water component of tea has to maintain a certain temperature to ensure it does not get contaminated, and it indirectly ensure there is nothing on the teabag that could lead to an illness.

I know, Adam, you probably are thinking there really are no good reason for such caution from your point of you. After all, your sun got seriously burned! I empathize, but I also understand that restaurants literally are not allowed to cut those kinds of corners. All it takes is one customer to get sick because of food they ate, or a beverage they drank, and health inspectors could shut the place down. I’m sure you do not want that Tim Horton’s to be shut down, and I certainly do not want your son to get burned again! Just try to keep in my mind the best thing probably isn’t for them to lower the temperature of the tea.


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