Origins: I don't know if the urine-on-mints story is true, but I do know many people believe it. Here are a couple of Ottawa Citizen news stories detailing how one community reacted to this "problem," the first from
Even so, the Region decided to more strictly enforce existing rules because unwrapped mints are unsanitary and could pose a health risk. They did this by insisting restaurant owners either give away wrapped candy only or dispense unwrapped candy in a sanitary manner. (Please understand that there was no documentation in hand prompting them to take this action; they were but acting on the assumption urine could be there.)
Unwrapped mints could still be dispensed provided the method of delivery to the customer precluded more than one customer ever handling the same mint. For instance, one local restaurant dispensed unwrapped mints by way of a gumball machine. Since patrons did not get to handle more than one mint at a time, the Region was satisfied with this particular solution.
1994 fines for non-compliance were $53 per incident. After three or four such fines for health offences, the restaurant can be charged in court and fined on a larger scale.
The important point here is that no new legislation/bylaws/regulations were enacted to meet this "threat." Rather, a stricter observance of existing guidelines was adopted. The threat of urine and coliform fecal bacteria contamination might or might not be real, but RMOC decided to adopt a cautious stance that is more in line with other regulations for handling food in public restaurants.
Barbara "care for an 'after diner' mint?" Mikkelson
Sightings: On 13 July 2005, while a guest on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Johnny Depp stated that a study done on bar peanuts revealed the presence of
Last updated: 20 February 2007
Brunvand, Jan Harold. Too Good To Be True. New York: W. W. Norton, 1999. ISBN 0-393-04734-2 (p. 174). The Ottawa Citizen. "Cannings Worried by Restaurant Mint Bowls." 22 April 1994 (p. C1). The Ottawa Citizen. "Wrap After-Meal Mints, Restauranteurs Told." 5 July 1994 (p. B1).