McDysentery: Study Finds Fast-Food Ice Dirtier Than Toilet Water . . . Researcher Is 12-Year-Old Girl

220px-Tumbler_of_cola_with_ice220px-Toilet_370x580Florida student Jasmine Roberts, 12, has secured the top science prize at her science fair . . . and the disgust (and gratitude) of every adult.  Roberts decided to test the cleanliness of ice at fast food restaurants and compared those findings with the toilet water in the same restaurant. She found the toilet water was cleaner.

Roberts went to five fast food restaurants and asked for cups of ice. She then went into the toilets and flushed once before taking samples. She reported her findings: “I found that 70-percent of the time, the ice from the fast food restaurant’s contain more bacteria than the fast food restaurant’s toilet water.” The reason, she determined, was that toilets are routinely cleaned while the restaurants virtually never cleaned the ice machines.

That study resulted in first in the regional fair and a prize of $800.

Welcome done, Jasmine. We are all impressed and totally grossed out.

Source: Business Insider

20 thoughts on “McDysentery: Study Finds Fast-Food Ice Dirtier Than Toilet Water . . . Researcher Is 12-Year-Old Girl”

  1. Welcome to the new age:

    I can tell you the exact date that I began to think of myself in the first-person plural — as a superorganism, that is, rather than a plain old individual human being. It happened on March 7. That’s when I opened my e-mail to find a huge, processor-choking file of charts and raw data from a laboratory located at the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder. As part of a new citizen-science initiative called the American Gut project, the lab sequenced my microbiome — that is, the genes not of “me,” exactly, but of the several hundred microbial species with whom I share this body. These bacteria, which number around 100 trillion, are living (and dying) right now on the surface of my skin, on my tongue and deep in the coils of my intestines, where the largest contingent of them will be found, a pound or two of microbes together forming a vast, largely uncharted interior wilderness that scientists are just beginning to map.

    In sheer numbers, these microbes and their genes dwarf us. It turns out that we are only 10 percent human: for every human cell that is intrinsic to our body, there are about 10 resident microbes — including commensals (generally harmless freeloaders) and mutualists (favor traders) and, in only a tiny number of cases, pathogens. To the extent that we are bearers of genetic information, more than 99 percent of it is microbial.

    (Some of My Best Friends Are Germs)

  2. mfitch 1, May 21, 2013 at 9:26 am

    This is a great story, but it is worth considering that the experiment was not exactly rigorous. But it does provide very compelling (if not urgent) grounds for health and safety professionals to do their own studies.
    Lots of times that is not their main interest.

    You know, there is money, status, and tenure to consider first.

    Another scientist of her ilk recently got down with it:

    On April 17, a paper arrived in the inbox of Annals of Mathematics, one of the discipline’s preeminent journals. Written by a mathematician virtually unknown to the experts in his field — a 50-something lecturer at the University of New Hampshire named Yitang Zhang — the paper claimed to have taken a huge step forward in understanding one of mathematics’ oldest problems, the twin primes conjecture.

    Editors of prominent mathematics journals are used to fielding grandiose claims from obscure authors, but this paper was different. Written with crystalline clarity and a total command of the topic’s current state of the art, it was evidently a serious piece of work, and the Annals editors decided to put it on the fast track.

    Just three weeks later — a blink of an eye compared to the usual pace of mathematics journals — Zhang received the referee report on his paper.

    “The main results are of the first rank,” one of the referees wrote. The author had proved “a landmark theorem in the distribution of prime numbers.”


    Somebody has to do it.

  3. I knew that… My brother has been lobbying for quality standards in commercial ice as well…..think about that the next time you get a quick bag of ice….

  4. This is a great story, but it is worth considering that the experiment was not exactly rigorous. But it does provide very compelling (if not urgent) grounds for health and safety professionals to do their own studies.

  5. I saw an episode of Kitchen Nightmares that discussed the ice issue. EWWW. It was recent,too. ugh.

  6. considering my water quality professor said that water from a toilet was of better quality than Perrier, I can easily believe this.

  7. This story about Ms. Roberts has been published many times before. She was twelve years old back in 2006.

    It’s not just ice that’s filthy in fast food restaurants. How many people don’t wash their hands before touching straw dispensers and napkin holders? Think about that the next time you reach for a straw or to wipe your mouth.

    But even without the issue of filth, I hate ice in my drinks because plastic straws add to environmental waste. And I prefer drinking out of a cup, not through a straw. Ice in a drink prevents that.


  8. Usually a dog will not drink out of a toilet that has not been flushed. HumpinDog will not hump a human who has peed down his leg. So he is less likely to hump older farts. Dogs expect dog bowls to be cleaned and refilled daily. Dogs will not eat ice cubes from McDonalds.

    I would like to see this kid test some of the bottled water which is sold to chumps.

    I advise humans to put a filter on the faucet at the kitchen sink and thence use one of those pitchers with a filter in the top for all water drank or cooked with. Brita is one company. Pour that water in the dog bowl for Christ sake and if you cant do it for Christ then chose your own sake because you dont want the dog to get sick and puke on your new rug.

  9. We did a lot of camping as kids and my mother was constantly harping on the subject of dirty ice admonishing us not to chip off pieces of the block used in our camping ice chest or grab pieces out of the coolers containing soda bottles at gas stations and small grocery stores.

    I certainly appreciate this 12 year old’s findings especially when considering the cold and flu season.

  10. The human mouth has more bacteria than the toilet water, the ice, or the toilet seat.

    The distinction that makes a difference is “what kind of bacteria?”

    Icky poo is an ancient concept that is at least 150 years old in the medical profession, and two creation stories older in the minds of luddites.

    Dirty is as dirty does.

  11. Great experiment. When was this study conducted? What was in the ice? Nice news break.

  12. I fully expect a post from BarkinDog any minute now informing us that he and his friends have always understood the benefits of drinking toilet water over that stuff people put in doggy bowls.

  13. Dogs have known this since indoor plumbing was invented. They call it Kohler Water.

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