Action is definitely being taken to dicover the cause of the abnormally high bacteria count in the University's tea, a spokesman for the University Health Services said yesterday.
The Health Services are checking washing procedures and the temperature of the water in the dish-washing machines of the Houses to determine the source of the contamination, according to Dr. Benjamin G. Ferris, director of the Environmental Health and Safety Department.
Ferris added that because the count was made during the iced-tea season, contamination could have resulted from "someone sticking his fist in the ice bucket." Other possible causes of the unacceptably high count were the use of unclean utensils or infected tea leaves in the preparation of the tea, or allowing the tea to stand at room temperature for several hours.
L. Gard Wiggins, administrative vice-president, stressed that "999 out of 1000 tests are okay," and said the recent failure of the Central Kitchen to pass a number of tests was "very unusual."
Sanitation inspector Wilfred B. Krabek discovered the high count, 24 times the acceptable level, in a check of coliform colonies in tea last August. However, no official report of the discovery was filed until January.
Krabek reported that the tea had the same bacterial count as a one in ten dilution of the Charles. This statement, publicized last Monday, caused concern at the Health Services. One doctor said "Krabek should have been more careful. He should not have compared the tea to the Charles."
In a report handed to Ferris Wednesday, Krabek listed the latest count as 0 to 38 coliform colonies per 100 mls. of tea as compared with the August high of 2400 colonies. Ferris commented, "This would be perfectly acceptable."