Ice in 6 out of 10 restaurants more filthy than toilet water: U.K. study

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A study conducted by the U.K.’s Daily Mail found that six out of ten of Britain’s most popular high street restaurants have cleaner toilet water than ice.

The samples, obtained from ten different branches in Basingstoke, Hampshire, found that the 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, The Daily Mail reports.

None of the samples presented an immediate health danger, The Mail reports, but four contained such high levels of microbes the restaurants should be considered a “hygiene risk.”

In the cases of Nando’s and Burger King, the levels of bacteria in ice were more than double than that which the scientists said they expect to see in drinking water.

“We challenge these results and do not accept that they demonstrate any failings,” a Nando’s spokesman said.

A Burger King spokesman said they were working with the franchisee “to investigate the situation,” The Mail reports.

Dr. Melody Greenwood, a former laboratory director for the Health Protection Agency, said the results are a warning.

“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,” she told The Mail. “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.”

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