If the thought of drinking toilet water makes you cringe, you’ll hate learning that ice served at many fast food restaurants contains more bacteria than the water found in their toilets. As reported by the featured article:
“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… The Burger King result suggested the cause was human contamination, likely to be from a staff member failing to wash their hands.”
Four of the test samples contained enough contamination to be considered a “hygiene risk.”
The study was carried out in restaurants in the UK, but similar results can be expected in the U.S., because the issue relates not to the water itself but to bacterial growth in the ice machines or workers’ lack of hygiene.
This is similar to a 2008 investigation on lemon wedges served in restaurants. Two-thirds contained 25 different potentially dangerous, disease-causing microorganisms — including fecal bacteria.
The fact that people aren’t keeling over from foodborne pathogens en masse is proof that your body is equipped to handle these types of infectious assaults, but that doesn’t mean there’s no risk. Children, the elderly, and people with depleted immune systems are among the most vulnerable.
Regularly frequenting fast food restaurants and drinking lots of sweetened beverages will take its own toll on your immune function, which could make you more susceptible to health problems from contaminated ice.
Next: More Reasons to Avoid Sweetened Beverages