Do you do grosser-than-gross jokes? Okay. What's grosser than the toilet water at a restaurant? The ice in your glass. Yuck! Samples of ice were taken from ten chain restaurants and compared to the water in those restaurants' toilet bowls. The results: In six out of ten restaurants, the ice had more bacteria than toilet water at those same restaurants. And now you can't un-read what I just told you. Sorry about that.
So yeah... that's gross. Does it make you feel any better if I tell you the study took place in the UK? It shoudln't, because the blog Grub Street gathered a handful of other studies that show the same exact thing: Restaurant ice is dirty, dirty, dirty.
How bad is this bacterial contamination? At two restaurants there was twice as much bacteria in the ice than scientists say you'd see in drinking water. Four samples were high enough in bacteria to be considered a "hygiene risk." Scientists think the ice is this gross probably because toilets get cleaned more often than ice machines do. Ice could be contaminated by employees who don't wash their hands or equipment.
Naturally, all the restaurants in question are all, Burr hurr hurr, our ice is perfectly safe and we take hygiene very seriously -- please don't run away dear customers.
I'm just glad I usually refuse ice in my drinks. It's not because I think the ice is dirty -- it's just because I don't like super cold drinks, and I think it's annoying to have ice cubes floating into your mouth when you're drinking. What are you supposed to do? Spit them out? That's so uncouth. But I don't want to chew them, either. And straws are for children. Know what I mean? Ugh, ice in my drinks. Hate that.
Plus, I never go to any of those restaurants... EXCEPT Starbucks. My one exception to the ice rule would probably be iced coffee and tea. And oh gee gosh golly, summer is here, which means it's iced coffee season. Now this dirty ice expose has ruined iced coffee for me. Who can I trust? For that matter, how clean is the ice in my own freezer?
Do you ever wonder how clean the ice in your drinks is?
Image via A Girl With Tea/Flickr