Next time you go to a fast food restaurant and get a soda, you might want to skip the ice. Restaurant ice might be dirtier than toilet water, according to bacterial testing done in major chains.
Though we can’t speak for The States, six out of ten of Britain’s most popular high street restaurants had their ice tested for bacteria, and the results were positively stomach-turning.
Branches of McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, and even Starbucks were tested, with their ice apparently containing more bacteria than that found in toilet water, meaning that if you’re parched after a Big Mac combo, you might be better off taking a straw to the ‘loo with you.
Though the information is puzzling, experts say that ice is probably dirtier than toilet water because bathrooms are routinely cleaned while an ice machine generally isn’t.
Thankfully, none of the samples proved immediately dangerous to the health of restaurant patrons, but four such samples did contain such high levels of microbes that the ice could be considered a “hygiene risk.”
Many other samples simply showed “poor hygiene,” with a few containing more bacteria than experts normally see in drinking water. About twice the amount, actually.
“This is a warning,” said Dr. Melody Greenwood, a former laboratory director for the Health Protection Agency.
“It is easy to forget ice can carry bacteria because they think it is too cold for germs, but that is far from the truth. Nasty bugs such as E.coli can lurk in ice machines. In some cases, such as Nando’s, we found double the amount of bacteria we would expect to find [in drinking water]. This is caused by things such as a failure to clean machines and scoops used by staff.”
Three companies have disputed the findings while the rest are reviewing their cleaning procedures.
“We are working with the franchisee to investigate the situation,” said a Burger King spokesperson. KFC and Cafe Rouge echoed with similar statements.
McDonald’s and Starbucks disputed the tests, with the former claiming that their ice contained acceptable levels of bacteria and the latter claiming that an employee accidentally contaminated the ice sample tested.
Nando’s refuted the tests outright, claiming that the results do not “demonstrate any failings.”
What do you think? Could ice be dirtier than toilet water at your local restaurant?
[Image via: Boule / Shutterstock]