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When we picture fast food kitchens, we often think of a greasy, smokey areas that are crowded with workers and have lax cleanliness regulations. Although this assumption may see unfair, recent scientific research may have proven our biases right.

These studies examined a specific food item served by many major restaurants, and found that they contained incredibly high levels of bacteria. However the food culprit, in this case, is something that you would least expect to be the dirtiest item in a fast food restaurant. That’s because, believe it or not, it’s ice.

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Contaminated Ice in Fast Food Restaurants

Multiple studies have examined the levels of bacteria found in ice served at fast food. One of them showed that 6 out of the 10 fast food chains tested had bacteria levels high enough to cause a hygienic issue.

During one of the studies, ice samples were collected from five different fast food chains in South Florida. Toilet water samples were than collected from the same restaurants, and both of them were sent to the University of South Florida where they would be compared based on bacteria levels.

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In several of the cases, ice from the fast food restaurants tested positive for bacterial strains such as E.coli, which comes from human waste and has been linked to many health problems.

During a separate study in the United Kingdom, ice samples from popular fast food restaurants such as Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC and Starbucks were all found to contain more bacteria than an entire toilet.

Experts say that the contaminated ice could have been caused by a variety of “environmental issues.” This could range from a dirty ice machine distributing the ice to employees not washing their hands before handling it.

Whatever the case may be, the best to avoid this contaminated ice would be to avoid fast food restaurants in general. It will save your health in more ways than one.

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