An investigation commissioned by the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health (CIEH) Wales found that one in five samples of ice tested from hotels and pubs in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan were contaminated with fecal matter — probably because staff are not washing their hands before serving customers ice in their drinks.
Julie Barratt, director of the CIEH in Wales, said,
“The results of the survey give us cause for concern. Although realistically there is little likelihood of food poisoning from the levels of bacteria that were found, the presence of fecal bacteria shows that the people handing the ice have very poor standards of personal hygiene. While the ice may pose little risk the same may not be true for other foodstuffs that they may also handle. Food business operators and food handlers need to recognise that ice is a food product and treat it in the same way as all other foods prepared for sale to the public.”
The Chartered Institute for Environment Health in Wales has put together these tips for when asking for ice in a drink:
• if the ice is in a bucket on the bar where anyone can lean over it or cough or sneeze on it, don’t have it;
• if the bar tender takes the ice out of the bucket with their hands, don’t have it;
• if the bar tender pushes a glass down into the ice and their hands come into contact with it, don’t have it;
• if the scoop or tongs for handling the ice are not stored properly, don’t have the ice – you wouldn’t chose to have meat cut with a dirty knife;
• if you can see the ice machine, and it looks grubby, don’t have the ice that comes from it; and,
• if the ice bucket looks dirty, don’t have the ice that comes out of it.