Ice-creams at tourist spots fail to lick hygiene tests

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NEARLY half a sample of ice- creams bought near tourist attractions in London, Rome and Barcelona failed UK hygiene tests because of contamination by bacteria, according to Holiday Which? magazine, published today, writes David Nicholson-Lord.

A survey found dirty scoops, grubby freezers and people serving food without washing their hands or covering their hair.

Patricia Yates, editor of Holiday Which?, said many vendors were 'clearly ignoring the regulations'. The European Commission suspects microbial contamination is 'rife' in ice-creams.

Of 60 vanilla ice-creams tested, 26 contravened the UK code of hygiene practice: in London six of 20 samples failed. One ice-cream, bought near the British Museum, was 'loaded' with coliform bacteria and was rated 'very poor' by inspectors, who noted a dirty freezer littered with food scraps.

In Barcelona, 9 out of 20 samples failed the test and 1 in 3 was rated very poor; in Rome, where inspectors saw a man urinate against a wall and return to his van without washing his hands, 11 out of 20 samples failed and listeria was found in one.

The magazine advises consumers to look for signs of poor hygiene - flies or rubbish, staff who smoke or have dirty clothes and scoops left in cloudy water.