The makers of Kerorin tubs, the yellow plastic tub used in Japanese bath houses, say they’re not meant for food or drinks.

In today’s age of social media, everything has to be taken to the next level in order to get more likes and followers. More original, more colorful, more beautiful, more unique…if it’s got more of anything, then you’ve got more followers.

Take one of the latest Instagram trends that gets points for originality: using a plastic Japanese bath bucket to serve cocktails. For some reason, using the bright yellow plastic bucket known as “Kerorin tub” as a punch bowl, when it’s usually used to pour bath water over your head after soaping up, became a thing, and people are into it.

▼ Kerorin tubs are a common sight and iconic element of Japanese public baths, since their design has stayed the same for decades (and just to be clear, the ones bars are serving drinks in are new, not used, buckets).

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The trend seems to have been started by izakaya pubs and bars sometime in 2018, with the most popular drink to put in it being a lemon sour cocktail, usually made with lemon juice and shochu, a Japanese liquor. The Kerorin tub is used like a punch bowl, with a plastic ladle and cups of the same brand–both generally used for scooping and splashing bathwater–being used to serve and drink the cocktail.

▼ The tubs come in different sizes, which is apparently perfect for catering to different group sizes.

It quickly became a trend on Instagram, because it’s both a twist on the well-known tubs’ original use and of course because it’s a more visually appealing way to serve alcohol than a traditional pitcher. But while this looks like a colorful and fun way to share a drink with friends, the makers of the Kerorin tubMegumi Toyama Pharmaceuticals, have spoken against the use of the plastic tub for any kind of edible item, because it is not a container meant for holding food or drinks.

The company said that it has not conducted any tests about the safety of the container for use as tableware, and therefore cannot guarantee that no one will get sick if it’s used to serve or store food.

▼ There is also, apparently, an entire Instagram account dedicated to taking pictures of homemade meals in Kerorin tubs.

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In an official statement posted on the the company’s website, Megumi Toyama Pharmaceuticals called for the bars and restaurants using their products as tableware to stop immediately and replace them with products intended for storing and serving food and drinks. They have also petitioned websites that feature lists of places where you could find “kerorin sour” cocktails to remove such articles for the sake of public safety.

“Just like with medicine,” a company representative said, “it’s important to follow the recommended dosage and rules of use. Everything is made with a reason and a purpose, so we would like for people to respect the intended use.”

Though many places have respected the company’s wishes and have ceased serving drinks in the yellow plastic tub, some continue to use the Kerorin tub as a punch bowl despite the warning, for fear of losing valued Insta-active customers.

The Kerorin tub is made with Polypropylene plastic, which is generally considered one of the safest and most durable types of plastic and is often used in food containers, so the warning is probably, more than anything, an attempt to absolve Megumi Toyama Pharmaceuticals of any liability should someone actually get sick.

However, the chemical safety of plastic products varies depending on the manufacturing process, and since the Kerorin tub hasn’t been tested for any potential ingestible toxins, it might not be safe to use for food. So if you see this available on a menu somewhere in Japan, it might be best to steer clear of it and find something else to Insta, just in case!

Source: Bengoshidotcom News via Hachima Kiko, Megumi Toyama Pharmaceuticals
Top image: Kerorin AU Pay Market Shop
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