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Warning: Never Put Ice In Your Drink At KFC, McDonald's Or Burger King

A report has emerged, and it contains some disturbing information.

A BBC Watchdog program decided to test the waters, so to speak, at some favorite fast food chains. They took samples of ice from the soda fountains and brought them to the lab. They found that more than half of the samples contained bacteria from fecal matter.

Some people love fast food, while others find it dubious at best. Still, you might think just getting a drink would be a safe bet at a fast food place. But you'd be wrong.

The BBC-funded study brought ice sampled from 10 randomly selected branches of the most popular fast food chains: McDonald's, Burger King, and KFC. The ice from thirty restaurants in all was tested by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), a UK government department that sets water standards.

Examiners at DEFRA found that in more than half of the 30 restaurants put to the test, the ice contained coliforms that are indicative of the presence of fecal matter. KFC was the worst, with seven out of ten samples being contaminated. Burger King came right behind, with six out of ten samples containing fecal matter. McDonald's had three out of ten, which is better, but not for the people eating at the three restaurants in question. Some of the Burger King and KFC samples had 'significant' levels of contamination.

According to DEFRA, there should never be any coliforms present in water used for human consumption.

The contamination comes from employees with poor bathroom hygiene practices. "When we’re finding the sorts of numbers we’re finding here, you have to look at the people making the ice, handling the ice, which they then transfer into customers’ drinks," said Tony Lewis, the Head of Policy and Education at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

Think you’re safe across the pond? Think again. A similar experiment was conducted in Virginia by Hollins University in Roanoke. In nearly 90 of the beverages from randomly selected soda fountain machines, half tested positive for coliform bacteria.

"Certainly we come in contact with bacteria all the time," said Renee Godard, the study's lead author. "It's simply that some bacteria may potentially cause some disease or gastrointestinal distress. One thing we hesitate with is that people get afraid of bacteria. Many of them are benign or helpful, but certainly, I don't want E.coli in my beverage."

KFC put out a statement claiming that they were 'shocked' by the results. "We immediately shut down the ice machines in the restaurants affected to conduct a thorough clean and inspection, and reinforced the importance of adhering to our strict procedures to all employees."

"Cleanliness and hygiene are a top priority," Burger King said in a statement, noting that they have strict policies in place. "This report is an opportunity for us to emphasize our training procedures and ensure all operations and safety standards are upheld."

McDonald's also vowed that they have strict procedures in place to ensure the safety of their customers. "Hygiene and safety practices are of the utmost importance to us and we’re proud that 99 per cent of our restaurants have an independent hygiene rating of either good or very good," said their statement, noting that they use commercial ice machines. "As the investigation highlights, there are no specific ice production standards in place, only those relating to unfrozen drinking water. We would therefore welcome the introduction of an agreed standard and would be happy to work with relevant industry bodies."

Source: Daily Mail, CNN
Photo: Opposing Views

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