There’s a reason silverware is often delivered on or in a napkin at a restaurant: to prevent contact with the gunk on the table.
All proper-mannered people will unwrap the knife and fork and spoon and tuck the napkin into their shirt collar.
Food comes on a plate. Silverware hits the table. What’s on the table?
One of my favorite questions when dining out is, what was the table wiped with, as a server finishes cleaning up from the previous diners.
Lisa Gibson of Access Atlanta notes that various restaurants, from the upscale ones to the deli type and wings spots, face food safety citations related to wiping cloths and sanitizing solution.
When restaurants fall short in this area, inspectors advise the managers on proper procedures. Also, Georgia’s food safety guidelines are clear on this subject:
Cloths in-use for wiping food spills from tableware and carry-out containers that occur as food is being served shall be maintained dry and used for no other purpose.
Cloths in-use for wiping counters and other equipment surfaces shall be held between uses in a chemical sanitizer solution at a concentration specified. …
Cloths in-use for wiping surfaces in contact with raw animal foods shall be kept
separate from cloths used for other purposes.
Dry wiping cloths and the chemical sanitizing solutions in which wet wiping cloths are held between uses shall be free of food debris and visible soil.