'Sip and spit' alcohol exemption for young students gets Ill. OK

March 28, 2012

Associated Press

Illinois culinary schools want state law to allow underage students to take a sip -- as long as they spit.

A Senate committee OK'd a "sip and spit" alcohol exemption Tuesday 12-1.

Emily Williams Knight is president of Kendall College in Chicago. She says students need to learn how to taste wine during their early years of culinary school — before some students reach the legal drinking age of 21.

Knight says such "taste training" is essential for understanding recipes and pairing drinks with dishes.

Rhode Island and Colorado are among states that have similar exemptions.

Opponent Anita Bedell of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems questioned how the schools would enforce rules against swallowing.