Spot checks find contaminated ice in North East Lincolnshire pubs
"WOULD you like ice with that?"
Eight out of 12 pubs in the area so far have failed spot checks by North East Lincolnshire's food health team for contaminated ice during the run-up to the festive season – with results even showing faecal contamination at two of the venues.
In both these cases, traces of bacteria were found in ice buckets behind the bar and it's likely that it was caused by staff failing to wash their hands after using the toilet.
Council bosses have refused to name the venues involved.
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Food health inspectors gave warnings and advice to the eight pubs where traces of contamination were found and the premises will be visited again to check that poor hygiene is not putting customers at risk.
They are checking that staff are washing their hands properly, cleaning ice making machines frequently and effectively, cleaning and storing ice scoops correctly and storing and handling ice safely.
Ice cubes can be a potential source of contamination from germs including E-Coli if they are not made, stored or handled correctly.
People can check that the basic precautions listed below are being followed to ensure ice is properly handled when ordering drinks in a pub or bar:
Check that ice buckets are in a clean area of the bar, away from sources of contamination.
Customers should not be able to serve their own ice as this increases the risk of contamination with potentially harmful bacteria.
Serving staff should use a scoop with a handle to serve ice (not a glass or other similar receptacle).
The scoop should be stored in a container alongside the ice bucket rather than in the ice bucket, where it may fall in and bacteria from the handle may contaminate the ice.
Councillor Dave Bolton, portfolio holder for Community Safety and Neighbourhoods at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: "Nobody wants to spend Christmas with an upset stomach or worse because they've had a drink made with dodgy ice cubes.
"It's simply not acceptable for premises serving drinks to be putting their customers at risk by not taking sensible hygiene precautions.
"Our inspectors are making unannounced visits to the area's pubs and bars and giving advice and warnings to premises where improvements could be made."
If you have concerns that a bar or pub is putting its customers health at risk, you can speak to the bar manager yourself or report it to the council's food health team on 01472 324770.