This study aimed to evaluate the levels of enteric bacteria in ice cubes produced in different environments (home-made, prepared in bars and pubs with ice machines and produced in industrial plants) and to determine their survival in different alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. Members of the Enterobacteriaceae family were found in almost all samples analysed. All industrial and the majority of home-made samples did not contain coliforms. Enterococci were not identified in domestic samples while they were detected in two industrial and three bar/pub samples. The samples collected from bars and pubs were characterized by the highest levels of enteric bacteria. Fourteen strains representing 11 species of eight bacterial genera were identified, some of which are known agents of human infections. The most numerous groups included Enterococcus and Stenotrophomonas. The survival of Enterococcus faecium ICE41, Pantoea conspicua ICE80 and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia ICE272, that were detected at the highest levels (100-400 CFU/100 mL thawed ice) in the ice cubes, was tested in six drinks and beverages characterized by different levels of alcohol, CO2, pH and the presence of antibacterial ingredients. The results showed a species-specific behaviour and, in general, a reduction of the microbiological risks associated with ice after its transfer to alcoholic or carbonated beverages.
University College Cork ->