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Faecal bacteria detected in iced drinks sold at popular UK coffee shops

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Faecal bacteria has been found in iced drinks sold by Starbucks, Caffe Nero and Costa Coffee, according to an investigation by BBC’s Watchdog.

When the weather hots up we all reach for a refreshing beverage to cool down.

The results of a recent BBC  investigation might just put you off that iced coffee though, after it found ice from three of the biggest coffee chains were contaminated with bacteria found in faeces.

Seven out of ten samples of Costa Coffee’s ice were found to be contaminated with the bacteria known as faecal coliforms.

Three out of ten samples from Starbucks and Caffe Nero also tested positive for the bacteria, which is pretty disgusting.  

Tony Lewis, head of policy and education at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, told Watchdog:

"The level of contamination of faecal bacteria concerns me a great deal. The bacteria found are opportunistic pathogens – the source of human disease. These should not be present at any level – never mind the significant numbers found."

It’s hard to pinpoint how the ice become contaminated, but contamination can be because of poor hygiene and ineffective hand washing.

Last year another BBC investigation, this time carried out by Rip Off Britain, found faecal coliforms in ice from a KFC branch.

At the time, Dr Escalada said:

"It's really hard to say how the faecal bacteria got to the ice that we tested. The thing I think is most likely is that it got there through manipulation. So someone touched the ice and their hands weren't particularly clean."

All three coffee chains identifed by Watchdog as selling contaminated ice say they are now taking immediate action.

Responding to the investigation’s results, Costa Coffee said:

“We were disappointed with the findings, especially as these stores are all rated ‘very good’ with the top hygiene rating of five."

“Following these results we took immediate action to review our food safety procedures and have updated our ice-handling guidelines and are in the process of introducing new ice equipment storage across our estate.”

The investigation will feature in tonight’s episode of Watchdog on BBC One at 8pm.




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