Watch out – another germ about!

Last week I wrote about MacDonalds and faecal contamination of ‘order board’ smart screens.

Now it’s Wetherspoons who are sweeping in for their poor hygiene Oscars courtesy of Watchdog.

Well with Macdonalds it was more about poor hygiene of the public.

But this is totally about poor hygiene of food handlers. Now most people would not expect to find faecal bacteria in their soda drink but as a food safety expert and frequent auditor of pubs and restaurants – ice machines can be the bad guy in several ways.

Firstly, like our bathrooms and showers -ice machines accumulate black mould….. When black mould accumulates it creates a biofilm (slime layer) that allows other bacteria that are pathogens to breed even at low temperatures.

Secondly, we have the same problem as that cited with Macdonalds. Hand washing, or absence of it. So if bar staff have used the toilet facilities and not washed their hands after using those facilities and they then go on to make you an iced drink, the chances are you will be drinking what’s in their gut too!

So how can we ensure staff do wash their hands.

Well in the case of Wetherspoons it appears that a respectable brand fell short on food hygiene which was only discovered by microbiological sampling by Watchdog. These bacteria cannot be seen with the human eye.

My top tip would be first to check out the standards of the toilets for public use. I know from my experience as an auditor that poor hygiene in toilets normally means poor food hygiene in the pub itself. Hygiene is driven by good management culture you see.
Otherwise, it’s a bit of a lotto draw…..apart from checking out the food hygiene rating of the place BEFORE you eat or drink.


NB. The photo of mould in an ice machine is an example only and not in any way associated with Wetherspoons .

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