In one restaurant, Inside Edition correspondent Lisa Guerrero found the restaurant’s ice cream dessert contained 28 million different types of bacteria. Over the years, fast food chain Mcdonald’s has also come under fire for illness related to the cleanliness — or lack thereof — of their soft serve machines. In 2004, over 100 people in the town of Piqua, Ohio became severely ill after consuming ice cream served at a local McDonald’s whose soft serve machine was found to contain traces of staphylococcus, the bacteria responsible for staph infections, according to NBC News.
Though these stories are enough to make us want to swear off ice cream altogether, the good news is that not every soft serve machine is contaminated. Inside Edition concluded their investigation to find that the ice cream in 31 out of the 40 locations inspected were free of harmful contaminants, indicating proper cleaning of their machinery.
According to Food Quality & Safety, proper cleaning requires disassembly of the appliance. The refrigerated tanks inside the machine, known as hoppers, also require particular attention. Warm water should be run through these chambers repeatedly and a small brush should be used to remove remaining residue from hard-to-reach areas. Afterward, a sanitizer should be utilized to help keep the machine bacteria-free and functioning properly.