Dogs in outside seating areas
Many States and jurisdictions are now allowing dogs to accompany their owners when dining in outside seating areas of food establishments. The Wisconsin Food Code indicates that animals are prohibited on a food establishment premises. The State Department of Health Services has reported that they will seek to change the language in the code to allow dogs in outside seating areas of a food establishment premise in the future. In the meantime, individual variances may be submitted to the department for approval. To obtain a variance to allow dogs in outside areas, an operation must do the following:
- Submit an application for variance or health department approval and pay appliction fee to the City of Milwaukee City Clerk's Office- License Division.
- Prepare an application for variance to either the State Department of Health Services (Restaurants) or Deparment of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (Food Stores, Coffee Shops). These applications must be submitted through the City of Milwaukee Health Department, and cannot be submitted directly to the state agency:
The “Moscow Mule” cocktail - invented in the 1940’s - is popular again, and it’s on the menu at bars in Milwaukee. The cocktail is made with lime juice, vodka and ginger beer and is served in a copper cup, or copper-looking cup. In many cases, vodka distributors provide these cups.
The “Mule” is a pretty acidic brew, with a pH (acid level) between 2.5 and 3.0. The Wisconsin Food Code (which is based on the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] model codes) states that copper may not be used as a food contact surface for foods (and beverages) with a pH lower than 6.0.
That’s because acids can dissolve copper into the drink, and cause some drinkers to react with vomiting, as if poisoned. It may not happen often, but the food code is straightforward. The prohibition is not subject to interpretation.
If your vodka distributor brings you cups, or if you shop for your own, get information from the manufacturer about what the cup is made of. If the food contact area is copper, or colored with copper pigment, contact your inspector before using them.
If you want to use copper cups for the Moscow Mule or similar cocktail, you may apply for a variance from the copper prohibition in the WI Food Code. 10 mg/l (milligrams per liter) is the maximum amount of copper one can ingest before it’s considered a toxic level.
Your application will have to be accompanied by lab tests showing that your recipe, in your cup, does not leach copper to the 10 mg/l level. If you decide to seek a variance, your inspector will walk you through the process.