China’s first local standard for the use of public chopsticks and spoons was unveiled in eastern China’s city of Taizhou in Jiangsu province on March 9. There is a clear specification for the material, color, length, locating place and application method of public chopsticks and spoons.
Public chopsticks and spoons are recommended to be used even when eating at home, according to the standard.
Public chopsticks and spoons are used when more than two people eat together at the same table, to scoop or take the food and avoid mouth to mouth contact between diners, as stipulated in the local standard.
In terms of this new standard, one netizen believed that public chopsticks should be used mainly at large parties, "it is necessary to use them when having dinners with people you don't know very well."
Many others felt that the rule of using public chopsticks or spoons “for more than two people" was only suitable for special situations. "For example, if someone has a cold; otherwise, it's a little unrealistic," they said.
As to this standard introduced by Taizhou, the biggest controversy lies in the use of chopsticks and spoons for family dining: every family member should be provided with one public spoon and a set of chopsticks.
"There are five people in my family. If we follow this standard, we would have to have 10 pairs of chopsticks for a meal. That would be troublesome," complained one netizen.
"I can imagine chopsticks flying around my little table," another netizen posted online, adding that, "I think I will forget which one to put in my mouth when using public spoons and chopsticks."
However, most netizens agree with the idea of using chopsticks in public dinners and banquets and are also clear about how to publicize it to the elders at home: "it's just like how we had to force our parents to wear masks at the beginning of the epidemic. For the sake of health and hygiene, I believe they will gradually accept and get used to it."