Study Finds Restaurant Ice Machines Contain More Bacteria Than Toilet Water

Restaurant Ice Bacteria Toilet Water Study
Reporter Ben Ellery pictured with samples from Burger King.
The Daily Mail has found that ice from McDonald's, Burger KingKFCStarbucks, and more fast-food chains, tested in the U.K., was all more bacteria-ridden than toilet water. 

They report that scientific tests found that all of the samples contained more bacteria than toilet water at the same place, but none of them presented an "immediate health danger." 

Samples from McDonald's, KFC, and Nando's were suspected to be dirtied by things like a dirty ice machine, while Burger King responded to its results by saying it was probably an employee who didn't wash his or her hands. 

Meanwhile, Starbucks reportedly had a "satisfactory" level of bacteria, scientists say, despite the amount being higher than bathroom water levels.


So does this mean that ice from fast-food places will make you sick? As with most foods, the risk increases if you are either very old, are very young, or have a compromised immune system. Other than that, these studies are effective at upending one misconception about pathogens in particular: that freezing temperatures destroy bad germs. Instead of comparing ice and toilet water, it'd be good to get samples from a few more surfaces that aren't toilet water, which is usually treated with disinfectants in food service settings, anyhow.

Regardless, it's good to see that these type of studies can raise awareness and hopefully help improve the health conditions at restaurants.

By Adam Camara

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