Quebec’s so-called language police are evidently going after plastic frozen yogurt spoons.
A Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt location in the Montreal area says it has had to stop providing plastic spoons to its customers because they had English text molded into them.
“We were visited by [Office quebecois de la langue francaise] and they cited us for having English molded in the spoons, apparently responding to a complaint,” the Menchie’s franchise in the suburb of Dollard-Des-Ormeaux said in a posting on its Facebook page.
Menchie’s is a California-based frozen yogurt chain that has cultivated a hipster image. Since their launch in 2007, the chain has expanded to 235 locations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Japan.
“We are working as fast as we can to get new spoons made just for our Quebec stores, at a large expense to us,” the Facebook posting stated.
UPDATE: The Office quebecois de la langue francaise (OLF) is denying that it has ordered Menchie's to remove the spoon, saying in a press release that the matter is under investigation and no decision has been taken yet.
But Menchie's appears to be standing by its assertion. David Lipper, owner of the Menchie's franchises in Quebec, said an OLF inspector came to the company's Brossard location and "demanded that we remove all the spoons. She even waited there to see us do it."
An employee was dispatched to Walmart to purchase plastic spoons, Lipper told The Huffington Post Quebec.
The company explained that it will have to hire a new contractor to make spoons specifically for its Montreal locations.
Quebec’s language police, long the target of controversy, have recently been in the news over what some see as overzealous enforcement of the province's language laws.
A restaurant in Montreal said earlier this year it was ordered to remove the word “pasta” from its menu, which the OLF reportedly said contained too much Italian.
That led to similar complaints from a number of other restaurants. The Caffe Gamba in Montreal said it was ordered to remove one “F” from its name.
In the wake of the controversies, the language office said it would be take a softer approach to enforcing the law in relation to business names and menu items.
— With a report from Patrick Bellerose, Huffington Post Quebec
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this story implied that the Menchie's location visited by the OLF is in the Montreal suburb of Dollard-Des-Ormeaux. While this location posted the announcement about the OLF visit to its Facebook page, it was in actuality the location in Brossard that received a visit from the OLF.