Next time you order a drink, make sure to ask for no ice. A new study by the Daily Mail found that six out of 10 of Britain’s most popular chains serve ice that contains more bacteria than their toilet water.
June 10, 2013
According to the Daily Mail: The ice served in six out of ten of Britain’s most popular high street restaurants contains more bacteria than the water found in their toilets, an investigation by The Mail on Sunday has found. Scientific tests have shown that ice from branches of McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Starbucks, Cafe Rouge and Nando’s all had higher levels of bacteria than samples of water taken from their lavatory bowls. Experts say it could be due to them being cleaned more often than the ice machines.
Dr Melody Greenwood, a former laboratory director for the Health Protection Agency, said the results show restaurants need to ensure staff are properly trained to handle ice.
‘This is a warning,’ she said. ‘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.’
A Burger King spokesman said: ‘We are working with the franchisee to investigate the situation.’ A spokesperson for the franchisee that operates the KFC said: ‘We have retrained staff on procedures as a precaution.’
At Cafe Rouge a spokesman said: ‘We take such issues very seriously and have immediately taken actions to review the ice-making process at this restaurant.’
And a McDonald’s spokesman said: ‘The ice tested contained low levels of common bacteria considered acceptable and safe for consumption.’
Starbucks said the ice sample had inadvertently been contaminated by staff when they opened the sterile bag. A spokesman said: ‘CCTV footage confirms that it was contaminated before it was tested.’
A Nando’s spokesman said: ‘We challenge these results and do not accept that they demonstrate any failings.’