A heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) worker is going viral on TikTok after posting a video of a moldy commercial ice machine at an undisclosed fast food restaurant.
“A lot of times people go to a restaurant, they get sick, and they think it’s food poisoning, or their food made them sick,” the man said in the video. “Let me tell you this, there’s a chance that it was their ice that got you sick.”
In the viral video which has been viewed more than 2.8 million times since being posted three days ago, the user @jantheman____ showed the inside of a moldy ice machine. The brown substance was floating in the water and visibly growing on the sides of the machine.
“That water that I just showed you is what’s making that ice,” the man said as he opened the ice machine drawer to show severely moldy water.
“You can’t tell me that this water hasn’t given people the runs,” he said. “It’s bacterial water, it’s so so dirty.”
@Jantheman____ then brought up the fact that numerous articles have been published about how dirty commercial ice machines can get. He recommended that people read them before thinking about getting ice at a commercial food establishment.
Dirty ice can cause serious illness, as was seen in 2013 when dirty ice at a golf course caused a norovirus outbreak in over 80 people. In 2018, a reporter in North Carolina said he sees “dirty ice machines” cited in many public reports.
Lynn Lathan, who works at the Health Department, told WCNC that if you look inside a commercial ice machine and see cloudy water or a brown substance inside, it is cause for concern. Sometimes even black and pink can begin to grow inside the machine’s water.
The pink mold can grow and create bacteria that can cause severe illnesses such as salmonella and E. Coli.
Studies around the world have shown that dirty ice can cause severe illness due to the consumption of mold. In 2017,
@Jantheman____ normally uses his TikTok account to post videos of ice machine maintenance as well as spread information about the dangers of unmaintained machines in a series he calls “may I get that with no ice.” He currently has 22 videos in the series.
In another video posted by @Jantheman____ at the beginning of the month, he showed the inside of a dirty ice machine. He said he was called to check on the machine due to “poor quality ice” and a customer found pieces of dirt or mold in their ice.
While cleaning the machine, he said he found mold everywhere. “Eventually all that mold just as you can see it fell into the bin,” he said while grabbing a slimy beige substance in his hands that was mixed in with the ice.
More than 7,700 concerned users commented on the man’s TikTok. Many of them expressed their fear of consuming restaurant ice, some others even recounted their stories of getting salmonella at a fast-food restaurant.
One user, @playfuldemons, said that in Australia, they tell people traveling to the United States to avoid the ice. “They warn us Aussie’s not to get ice in our drinks when we travel to USA cause it’ll make us really sick,” the user commented.
One user said that the place she works has an ice machine and she has never seen it cleaned since at least 2018. Another user that claimed they used to work at Jack in the Box said that they barely changed the water in the ice machine.
A consensus was also formed in the comments, with many users who work in the service industry agreeing that Starbucks is the only safe place to get commercial ice.
“Starbucks would never,” @2jzxjv commented. “Starbucks is the only place I get ice from,” @Jantheman____ replied.