FOOD writer Xanthe Clay has heard a rumour, obviously strong enough to print in a national newspaper, that Camden Council will issue a banning order to its staff stopping them eating at their desks. This, the rumour she relays in a column for the Daily Telegraph says, will come into effect when staff move into the new council HQ being built for them on the King’s Cross railwaylands site. Well, nobody likes to get a new place dirty in the first week and it’s really hard to get sweet and sour Pot Noodle out of the carpet…
Xanthe’s revelation came on the back of Conservative health minister Anne Soubry informing us that she thought people who did eat their lunchtime sarnies over a keyboard were being “disgusting”. Those comments were brought to life by the Daily Mail, which called up a university microbiologist to give us a warning that won’t just stop you eating at your desk, but will stop you feeling like eating anything ever again. Ever. Their star witness reports that one hygiene danger of eating in the office is, put simply, that your colleagues sometimes leave shit on your keyboards and phones. “Faecal contamination has been found in the office environment and on phones, so the more people us the equipment, the germs will be on it,” he yucked. Apologies at this stage to anyone who is eating right now, while reading this on a computer recently poo’d up by one of your workmates. Don’t blame me. Blame them.
But what to make of it all? Do Camden want to be the council which seem to be laying down hardline micromanagement to their staff? Or the council which saves its employees from staphyloccus? I called the council’s press office to get to the bottom of all of this and a spokeswoman said they hadn’t a clue where Xanthe’s rumour had come from and, as of yet, there had been no discussions about banning lunches at the desk in the new offices.