A study was carried out on several fast food restaurant’s ice machines, and the findings are rather disturbing.
Over half of the machines contained a bacteria that came from fecal matter.
A BBC Watchdog study looked at several restaurants at random and discovered the bacteria coliform growing in them – a sign that the ice machine had been exposed to fecal matter at some point. This contamination tends to take place after an employee who fails to wash their hands properly touches the ice.
Some of the restaurants that failed the test including McDonald’s, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken. The test looked at 10 KFC restaurants, of which seven ice machines failed with five being noted as “severe.”
Head of Policy and Education at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Tony Lewis said there were all kinds of numbers that were found. He said it begins with the people producing and handling the ice that goes into a customer’s drink.
Lewis said the findings were disturbing and worrying.
In response to the BBC report, KFC said their ice machine cleaning procedures are strict, and that every location that failed was temporarily shut down and cleaned thoroughly. The company said its restaurants were inspected by the health department and scored high or perfect.
McDonald’s also responded to the BBC report and said they would review their food safety guidelines. The company said hygiene and customer service is extremely important to them and that 99% of the restaurants have a good or very good rating.
In 2010 study, there were 90 ice and beverage fountains tested in Virginia fast food restaurants. The study found that over half of them tested positive for the coliform bacteria. It also said that a number of soda dispensers did not meet the U.S. drinking water guidelines.
The study said the amount of soda fountain and beverage machines that contain E. coli was concerning, which could suggest that pathogenic bacteria strains could be thriving in the soda fountain machines.
The study concluded that the majority of bacteria in the machines are not dangerous, but the possibility of illness is high for people who have a compromised immune system.
Ice isn’t the only thing possibly dangerous in fast food drinks as well, check out this study on diet soda dangers.