Restaurant refuses to give diner toothpick 'as they are too dangerous' | Mail Online
Restaurant refuses to give diner toothpick 'as they are too dangerous'By Liz Hull
First it was coffee mornings, with their hot drinks that were deemed too dangerous.
Then home-made biscuits and sponge cakes were banned from hospitals and primary schools because they posed a health risk.
Today it was the turn of the humble toothpick to fall foul of the health and safety police.
Killjoy staff at a luxury hotel chain are refusing to provide customers with toothpicks after dinner because they could be ''potentially dangerous', it has emerged.
Retired deputy headteacher John Freeman had enjoyed a £70-a-head meal at the Macdonald Portal Golf and Spa Hotel, in Tarporley, Cheshire, to celebrate New Year's Eve when he realised he had a piece of rib-eye steak stuck in his molars.
But when he called over the waiter to ask for assistance, Mr Freeman was astonished by his response.
'The waiter apologised but said he was not allowed to give me a toothpick for health and safety reasons,' Mr Freeman, 63, said.
'I asked him if he was joking, but he said it wasn't April 1 and that there weren't any in the hotel.
'I told him it was nonsense and asked to speak to the manager to request an explanation – indicating, at the same time, that there were 14 very dangerous metal knives and forks on my table that had been unsupervised for at least two hours.
'She took the point and agreed the situation was ludicrous at best, but assured me there had been a directive from head office not to provide toothpicks because they are potentially dangerous.'
Mr Freeman, of Eaton, Cheshire, was at the hotel with his wife, Jan, also 63 and a retired teacher, and a group of friends.
He said he was so incensed with the hotel's response that he wrote a letter to the Health and Safety Executive complaining about the rule. His complaints have since been passed onto his local council who are investigating the matter.
He added: 'It's such nonsense. It is the sort of thing which is making this country unlivable.
'Health and safety and political correctness are driving this country into a corner. It just seems ridiculous that hotel like this would behave in such a way.''
Dentist Ray McNamara said there was nothing more 'maddening' than having a piece of food stuck in your teeth.
He said: 'This doesn’t surprise me in this health and safety age. I suppose they are worried about people flicking their crowns out or injuring themselves and then blaming the hotel.
'My suggestion would be for restaurants to have a roll of dental floss available for people to use – I don’t think you can injure yourself with floss.'
Meanwhile, a seaside resort has cancelled its annual fun day after children were banned from riding in the donkey derby because of health and safety fears.
Organisers were forced to stop children riding the animals because they were worried they could get sued if one of them had an accident.
In November, the Daily Mail also reported how fundraisers had been banned from donating cakes to their local hospital for health and safety reasons.
Friends of Royston Hospital, Hertfordshire, refused to accept the cakes because they could not be sure exactly what was in them and were worried diabetics could have eaten them by mistake.
In June last year, pensioners in Eye, Cambridgeshire, were also banned from holding a coffee morning at a public library in case hot drinks were spilled on visiting children.