This is just an information post. I witnessed something happen at Lizzy's when I was there the other week and had an email exchange with someone in the company. I'm posting it here just so everyone has information and can make an informed decision.
I was at your location the other night buying Tofutti ice cream. The woman behind me also ordered Tofutti, and when she saw the workers about to use the same scooper that they used for the dairy ice cream in the non-dairy ice cream, she asked them to please use a different scooper because she's allergic to milk (as am I). The worker then informed her that she would have to open an entirely new thing of ice cream which leads me to assume that it's routine to use the same scooper for both dairy and non-dairy ice cream. There was already a very long line and the woman was noticeably uncomfortable, and I just wasn't sure why there wasn't a separate scooper to begin with. It's sometimes uncomfortable for people to mention that they have an allergy because they never want to be *that* person, not to mention that it would have been more time efficient to have already had separate scoopers than to open up a new container every time. It would also avoid any cross contamination issues while avoiding a lot of hassle.
Whenever a customer indicates that there is an allergy or even a preference to avoid a particular allergen (milk, gluten, soy, eggs, etc.) it is our policy to open a new container to minimize the the possibility of cross contamination (e.g. from an allergen falling into an open container). We intentionally inform customers about the opening of a new container thinking that this is important information for them to have.
We have considered using separate scoops, but decided that would be impractical, as we would need a very large set of scoops (non-dairy, non-egg, non-gluten, non-soy…) in several sizes each. Having such a large number of scoops would be impractical, and we fear that people could easily be confused about which scoop is the right one to use. Instead, we instruct staff to thoroughly wash utensils before using them in such situations. We know this practice works reliable, and the Health Departments in the communities we work in support this practice as safe and effective.
State and Municipal Health Departments in Massachusetts inform all food service establishments that the best practice is to rely on customers to identify themselves as wanting or needing special service. That is why every food service establishment in the state has signs asking people with allergen concerns to inform the servers.
To be honest, I found their part about not having separate scoopers because they would have to have a plethora of them was kind of stupid, but that's me. They did respond very quickly to my inquiry, though, and as you can see, it's a pretty lengthy reply.