Is Enjoying an Iced Drink in Your Local Fast Food Joint Safe?

By Chaudhary Khalid Rafiq | Jan 02, 2018

Many of us are used to heading to a local café, fast food eatery, or even restaurant to enjoy a bite to eat and a cold drink. In the summer, having a drink packed with ice can be wonderfully refreshing and cooling. However, just how safe is the drink that you are consuming and should you be thinking twice about whether you order anything with ice in it?


Msnbc live news shared reports about total lack of hygiene in some eateries in the past. Well, these reports do not just appear from nowhere – most are based on hard evidence and this has been proven through test results that have been published. Many of these reports do not make for happy listening, as they do make you wonder whether you should be enjoying treats such as iced drinks when you are out.


So, what’s the issue?

Earlier this year, health and safety officials in the UK decided to carry out random testing at a number of High Street coffee shops where people frequently go for both hot and cold beverages. The results of their tests were somewhat disturbing, particularly given that some of these establishments are known around the world. The results were reported on various news channels including Fox News and CNN News.


In fact, the tests were carried out on iced water in three major coffee shops in the United Kingdom. These are major chains that also operate in the United States and the results showed that the ice contained bacteria from fecal matter. What this means is that staff that were handling they ice were clearly failing to wash their hands properly after using the toilet, which puts the customers at risk of contracting health problems as a result of the contaminated drinks.


Worse still, the coffee shops where the tests were performed were all big name chains – Costa Coffee, Starbucks, and Café Nero. These are establishments in which millions of people put their trust on a daily basis and don’t expect to contract a disease as a result of indulging in the drinks they have to offer. A similar test was carried out in the UK last year at fast food eateries and the ice in a KFC restaurant was found to be contaminated with fecal bacteria.


Of course, there is always a chance that the incidents were isolated ones and the good news is that all of the chains affected said that they would be taking steps to improve hygiene and training for staff that handled food and drink. However, there are coffee shops and eateries like this around the world, which makes it difficult to determine whether the one that you go to is going to have high hygiene levels.


The one thing that can help is Food Hygiene Ratings, which have been used in the UK for a number of years. Eateries are issued with certificates with scores ranging from 1-5 based on cleanliness and hygiene levels. This is something that should be considered by other countries that currently do not have a ratings system in place.



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