Calm down, interwebs. There is no ban on microwaving pork products in the workplace. And no one is saying you absolutely cannot put a ham sandwich in the office fridge.
In case you were blissfully unaware, rumors have overtaken the internet that some nebulous authority from on high has handed down a no-pork-in-the-office mandate, all in an ill-fated attempt to instill political correctness in pig-lovers at large. Turns out, everyone can relax. No one is forcing you to to keep your bacon eating at home.
It all seems to have started just yesterday, with several articles spreading across the internet that "Ham Sandwiches And Sausage Rolls May Be Banned From Office Kitchens For Being 'Offensive.'" These articles, which were particularly rampant in British media, stated that workplaces would be banning the microwaving and refrigeration of pork products in deference to the religious sensibilities of those who don't indulge, namely Muslims and Jews.
The problem is, as is so often the case, the subtlety of the "may" in the above statement seems to have been lost in translation. The Twitterverse quickly became very alarmed. Would they no longer be able to eat pork in the office?
For example, @MarkTheReikiMan tweeted, "That is IT. The world has gone FECKING MAD!!!! … Yet again we are forced to placate to co-exist FFS come here change."
And @SassyMouth2012 chimed in, "So now we can't even get along in the refrigerator? There is no hope for America."
As Snopes reports, the comments sections to the no-pork-in-office articles were even worse. One commenter wrote: "Tell the stinking Muslims to get a grip. THIS IS AMERICA B—H!" Another said: "I don't give a dang about no Muslim being offended in my country."
Evidently, this is not what Professor Adam Dinham of Goldsmith's University in London had in mind when he set about creating new guidelines on etiquette for communal kitchens. What he evidently thought would be a kindly suggestion—crafted by a professor of faith and public policy—was evidently misinterpreted by the internet world as a mandate. And off they went.
Dinham runs The Religious Literacy Leadership Programme, a partnership of several UK universities. In association with an interfaith group called The Cambridge Coexist Programme, Dinham set out to craft voluntary guidelines for food preparation in shared kitchens. The advice was apparently neither created under the auspices of any particular religion, nor was it approved or vetted by any governmental agencies.
It was just a few suggestions: Don't keep bacon in the office fridge if your colleagues don't eat bacon. Microwaving a sausage roll might be offensive to your Muslim coworker. That kind of thing.
As Snopes puts it, "The advice, put forward by a professor of faith and public policy at Goldsmith's University in London, stipulates that employees should be careful of the kinds of foods prepared in communal kitchens in case it upsets colleagues of certain faiths."
Dinham says, "We have lost the ability to talk about religious belief because of a century of secular assumptions, and most religious belief is either highly visible and we don't recognize it, or it's invisible and we miss it entirely."
It seems unlikely that Dinham thought he'd get what he got as a response. As one commenter wrote: "All because some muslim might be offended. This is American go back to your country and live the way you want to live and eat the way you want. Think I'll order a pizza with sausage, bacon and ham on it for dinner tonight."
So much for co-existing in the office kitchen. At least when it comes to pork products.