Question: I was wondering if you could clarify whether or not gum and hard candy are considered food?
Answer: The following is from J-STD-001 D and J-STD-001 E states the same thing.
When then say eating and drinking they are talking about having food which is handled like a sandwich or chips, candy bar, all that kind of stuff. The issues are related to inhaling and ingestion of material from the solder, such as solder paste and lead residues. Secondly is the issue about contaminating the work area and surfaces to be processed, thereby impacting the solderability of the product.
Now does that include mints or lifesavers, which are typically kept in ones pockets or pocketbooks, I would think not. The same would apply to hard candies. When they state drink they are talking about containers on the bench top, not a bottle of water in your purse.
Again, keep in mind the intent of this is the prevention of ingesting or inhaling problems or contaminating the surfaces you are working on and products, with foreign materials.