bacteria, Basingstoke, Burger King, Cafe Rouge, contamination, fast food, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Health Protection Agency, ice, ice machines, KFC, McDonald's, Nando's, Pizza Express, Pizza Hut, public health hazards, restaurants, Starbucks, toilets, U.K., unsafe., Wagamama
A recent investigation by The Mail found that 6 out of 10 restaurants in Britain including McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC, serve ice that is riddled with more bacteria than their toilets. Further, 4 samples were so contaminated that they posed a ‘hygiene risk’. Most of us avoid fast food restaurants due to the health-devastating, nutritionally dead food, but who would have guessed that even the ice is questionable (outside of the tap water contaminants)?
For the investigation, samples of ice and toilet water were gathered from branches of ten chains in Basingstoke, Hampshire and transported to a testing facility known as Microtech Services Wessex. The samples from McDonald’s, KFC, and Nando’s were found to be contaminated primarily due to ‘environmental issues’ like a dirty ice machine. Burger King, on the other hand, was said to be caused by human contamination like dirty hands.
Here are the test results, per ML:
- Nando’s – Ice dirtier than toilets. Tests on ice water at 22C: 2,100 organisms. Toilet water: 1,300 organisms.
- Burger King – Ice dirtier than toilets. Ice bacteria at 37C: 260 organisms. Toilet water: Within drinking water regulations.
- McDonald’s – Ice dirtier than toilets. Ice bacteria at 22C: 1,400 organisms. Toilet water at 37C: 260 organisms.
- KFC – Ice dirtier than toilets. Tests on ice water at 22C: 1,100 organisms. Toilet water: Less than 1.
- Cafe Rouge – Ice dirtier than toilets, but not above laboratory’s hygiene guidelines. Toilet water: Less than 1.
- Starbucks – Ice dirtier than toilets, but is within laboratory hygiene guidelines.
- Pizza Hut – Bacteria in ice: 430 organisms at 22C. Toilet water exceeded drinking water standards.
- Pizza Express – Bacteria in ice insignificant. Toilet water: at 22C3, 200 organisms – highest in study.
- Gourmet Burger Kitchen – Bacteria in ice insignificant. Toilet water: Within bacteria count guidelines.
- Wagamama – Ice bacteria at both temperatures less than 10 organisms. Toilet water had 160 organisms at 37C.
“This is a warning,’ Dr. Melody Greenwood, a former laboratory director for the Health Protection Agency, 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 [the restaurant] 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.”