Getting Ill From Fountain Drinks

This Drink Tastes Funny

I fix ice machines in restaurants and convenience stores. The majority of service issues are due to failure to maintain the cleanliness of the equipment. When ice machines are not cleaned on a regular basis, microbial bacterial slime begins to build up on all of the water carrying components.

This means that the ice, which is in your cup, is made from water that has slid through the jellified dark green to black slime that is coating the tubing and water carrying components of the machine in which you just got your ice and delicious soft drink.

In some machines there are “sumps” or troughs that hold the water for recycling across the evaporator to increase the size of the cubes to the preset determined size. Usually the walls of these “sumps” are lined with that very same jellified slime…. ummmm yummy.

Every now and then a nice chunk of that delicious slime gets frozen into the cubes and dispenses right into your cup. Without looking you fill your cup with soda or tea – that hides the little dickens from you – and you end up enjoying something special with your soda… or your beverage.

I am not trying to scare anyone into NOT purchasing fountain drinks.  I am simply advising customers to be alert.  That’s part of my job – get the equipment owner to properly take care of the equipment.

Recently the problem has come to the attention of health inspectors and some have even shut down the fountain drink sales of various restaurants and convenience stores until they have them professionally cleaned and sanitized.  (There are only two convenience store chains from which I will purchase fountain drinks – I will not purchase fountain drinks from the average individually owned convenience store.)

Last year a television station did an investigative report on the safety of beverages served in local restaurants and convenience stores.  Their investigation found (in all the restaurants they checked – most national chains) the ice served to unsuspecting customers had more harmful bacteria than a cup of water pulled from their station toilet.

You might want to ask your attendant when the last time their ice machine was cleaned and sanitized.  As a word to the wise, always look into your cup before you fill it with beverage.

If you don’t, the next time you take a huge gulp from your favorite beverage you might notice something “lumpy” slipping down your throat… or maybe a “something funny” surge of flavor on your taste-buds…. But don’t worry about it… it didn’t cost you one dime more!

“Hey! What’s in Your Drink?”