You probably cannot imagine your drinks without ice, and the bartender, as well as the barista already know just how much you loved your iced cocktails and iced lattes even though you started going to the bar less than two weeks earlier. But today we bring you some rather uncomfortable news you don’t want to hear – the fact you need to stop putting ice in your drinks immediately.
Despite the heat or your palate’s love for ice, just take your drinks and leave out the iced options. Why?
Ice has loads of poop bacteria
Understandably, none of us wishes to ever think about the words fecal matter when drinking or even when thinking about food, but from today till eternity, these two words will always pop up in your mind when you think of asking for ice.
And if you think that all this sounds too far-fetched, you should read this 2017 report by the BBC. The BBC investigated the top three coffee chains – StarBucks, Caffe Nero, and Cost. When the investigators tested the iced water, all the tested samples from the three chains had coliform bacteria. If you didn’t know, coliform bacteria are basically pooping bacteria. From the investigations, 30% of the samples from Starbucks and Caffe Nero were contaminated, with Costa performing dismally with 70% of their iced water contaminated and quite poopy.
Experts reiterated that need to raise concerns over the foodborne pathogen. The BBC also ran another study on Burger King, KFC, and McDonald’s, and their iced water was also contaminated.
Mold in the ice machine
According to NewAir, there is a general and common misconception about ice machines being safe, but this misconception makes the ice machines particularly dangerous. The belief that these machines are super-cold and that mold and bacteria cannot grow on the ice machines is the main reason why little care is taken when it comes to the ice machine.
The truth, however, is that even with the cold conditions, the ice machines are perfect breeding grounds for mold. QBR Refrigeration reports that they’ve seen moldy and even slimy ice coming out of the machines and restaurants don’t think much about the machines. Most ice machines aren’t cleaned well, and by the time they’re cleaned, they’re often filled with greasy slime, black or even pick moldy sludge. Yikes!
These refrigeration experts further note that the most disgusting parts of the ice machine include the ice cavity, right at the chute – where ice comes out through and plops into your awesome drink. It, therefore, means that the drink you’re served is contaminated. And with mold being an efficient vehicle for bacteria that could make you sick, you risk getting extremely ill.
There isn’t much control from the FDA
Being a food-related issue, we expect the involvement of the FDA. But, the FDA has no regulatory control over packed ice which means that the FDA might not act if you buy prepackaged ice from the store and take home. All that this regulatory body controls and guides are the guidelines that specify the kind of water used, as well as the cleanliness and the hygiene of the employees handling the ice.
At the same time, the FDA doesn’t control/ regulate or even inspect the ice that’s made and used by restaurants. The interesting bit is that even with articles, some dating back to the 50s, about the presence of fecal matter in iced water, both the CDC and the FDA are yet to catch on or enact regulated to change things and to regulate the cleaning of ice machines. The only requirement set by the ice machine regulators is that the machines should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Too much nastiness
The other issue with the ice machines lies in the sneakiness of their designs. There are just too many ways through which the ice machine’s bin could be contaminated with bacteria and other nastiness. And the sad bit is that some of the nastiness is not obvious like the machine’s tendency to collect dust and yeast. And if it’s not drained well and the water replaced, the slime will buildup. Also, the machines have too many crannies and nooks, and it won’t be cleaned well.
Other things you should know include the fact that microorganisms can survive in ice and no concentration of booze can kill them.