The next time you fill up your cup with ice you may be getting more than you bargained for. But who's responsible? The restaurants? Or the health department?
In an ABC 4 undercover investigation Reporter Brian Carlson found bacteria and fungus growing on the ice being served at several Salt Lake area restaurants.
"This tested with fungus that was too numerous to count. Do you think that that's healthy to be serving to your customers?” Carlson asked one restaurant owner.
“No," said the owner.
After confronting store owners selling dirty ice –
"So you got this machine four years ago and haven't cleaned it since then?” Carlson asked another restaurant owner.
“No,” said the owner.
– Carlson went to the Salt Lake Valley Health Department to find out what local inspectors do to check for bacteria and ice fungus.
"They ask for visual and surface inspections of the ice making machines," said Gary Edwards, Executive Director, Salt Lake Valley Health Dept.
Edwards told Carlson it works like this - his inspectors are only following what the state does, and the state only follows rules from what the federal government does. But instead of going all the way to White House, Carlson took a closer look the Utah health standards. He found in a new Utah state law (H.B. 313) that went into effect on May 8, 2012, if the local departments can prove the state law doesn't do enough to keep people healthy, they can make their own rules.
So Carlson put it back on Edwards with Salt Lake Valley to see if they would step up and do more to clean up dirty ice.
"Just looking at this ice sample, don't you think more should be done?” Carlson asked Edwards.
“Perhaps more could be done,” Edwards said.
“Why isn't it then?” Carlson replied.
“Just as you read that law that was passed, in order for us to do more, we have to have scientific basis to do more," said Edwards.
So ABC 4 wants to know - What do you think? Should the Salt Lake Valley Health Department or the state mandate tougher inspections on restaurant ice makers? Send your comments to the ABC 4 facebook page.