Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Fast-Food Ice has some nasty stuff in it!

This was a neat science project and some really good thinking for a 12 year old girl. What she did was test the ice from fast-food restaurants and compared it against water taken from toilets. The results speak for themselves I think:
Jasmine Roberts never expected her award-winning middle school science project to get so much attention. But the project produced some disturbing results: 70 percent of the time, ice from fast food restaurants was dirtier than toilet water[!].

The 12-year-old collected ice samples from five restaurants in South Florida — from both self-serve machines inside the restaurant and from drive-thru windows. She then collected toilet water samples from the same restaurants and tested all of them for bacteria at the University of South Florida.

That's an impressive thing to find and the result is not only interesting but it's actually had a relevant effect! A couple of the restaurants in question are changing their sanitation practices with regards to their ice machines and have even asked her back for more testing. In explaining why the toilet water was so clean, which wasn't expected they conclude that it's because the water comes from sanitised reservoirs. I would probably propose that it's the amount of degergents (among other things) used to clean the toilet, which would definitely clean the clock of most fecal coliforms like Escherichia coli.

None the less, that's a remarkably well thought out experiment for a 12 year old and if she keeps that up she'll have a good future in science.