It started, I’m told, at Paramount.
Some poor craft service* person needed to wash serving utensils, so he (or she) used the bathroom sink. Hey, at least the dishes got washed, right?
The health department got wind of this and became quite cross.
So cross, in fact, that they shut the show’s craft services down due to some sort of food service health codes, which I’m not even going to try to explain beyond the obvious statement that putting communal food out on a table so the crew can nosh violates just about every one of them.
The health department people then went to visit craft service on a few other shows, became enraged by the open bowls of potato chips (or something) that they saw, and shut down the craft service of every show on the lot.
But that wasn’t enough. There are many other lots with movie sets in Los Angeles, you see, and the terrier-like health department decided that they must inspect them all to see first hand the disgusting filth in which we wallow.
So they moved on to Warner Brothers, then LA Center, and then a few others and finally, as we knew they would, they raided our show.
Despite preparing the best they could, our craft service people were also shut down, lectured and told that they better be in compliance with the aforementioned food service laws by Monday or else.
So today, when we came to work, we saw this:
Yes, that’s a box of pastries which have been individually wrapped for our safety.
Also, no more sandwich bar on the crafty truck. We’re not allowed in there anymore because we have cooties.
And we can’t have real milk with our coffee. We have to have prepackaged ‘creamers’ which are mostly corn syrup and artificial flavor.
Luckily, this is just temporary until the health department decides to pick on someone else. Then, everything will go back to normal.
*Once upon a time, Craft Service was just the extra person on the set – they’d pull cables, push carts, massage the producer’s girlfriend’s feet, etc.. Then, OSHA declared that meal breaks must occur every four hours in order to prevent hypoglycemic comas and rampant cannibalism. There was, of course, an uproar. Lighting set-ups can sometimes take four hours. Setting up stunts can take four hours. Makeup can take four hours. If we stopped to eat every four hours, we’d never get anything done.
So, now we have a table of food that we can graze on, and because of that, OSHA allows us to take meal breaks at longer intervals. It’s supposed to be six hours, but sometimes it’s a lot longer than that.