Some pretty crappy news today as faecal bacteria has been discovered in ice from three of the UK’s favourite coffee chains.
Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Caffè Nero have found themselves quite literally in the shit, with samples taken of iced drinks containing ‘concerning’ levels of the stomach churning bacteria known as ‘faecal coliforms’.
This shocking revelation was unearthed as part of a BBC Watchdog investigation. Researchers paid a visit to Salford based branches. Here, they swabbed tables, trays and high chairs whilst collecting samples of ice used in popular cold drinks, before analysing their gruesome findings in a lab.
https://t.co/dgKkXgHuBK I'm surprised they don't just charge extra for it and call it 'organic'.
— MikeyMcMikeface (@MikeRossP) June 28, 2017
Three out of the ten samples taken at both Starbucks and Caffè Nero were contaminated. Costa Coffee was the biggest offender, with a horrifying seven out of ten samples found to contain varying levels of faecal coliforms.
Not only is this revelation enough to make you go as cold as your favourite frappuccino, the potential health risks are pretty worrying. Diseases associated with faecal coliform contamination may include ear infections, viral and bacterial gastroenteritis and even hepatitis A.
Expert Tony Lewis from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has made the following statement:
These [faecal coliforms] should not be found at any level – never mind the significant numbers found.
"Starbucks and Caffe Nero" – Gives a new meaning to the expression "Wake up and smell the coffee." https://t.co/WAAENU6T2j
— Frank Dillon (@frankdillonpoet) June 28, 2017
All this is perhaps even more disturbing in the middle of summer when many coffee lovers are keeping chilled with a fruit cooler or iced latte.
All three of the affected chains have made moves to address the issue. Costa has now updated its ice handling guidelines and will introduce brand new ice equipment storage.
Starbucks employees have now been given updated training on essential hygiene standards, which will cover ice handling. Caffè Nero has responded with a ‘thorough investigation’.
Nobody should go out for a cold beverage with the risk of having their health compromised. Talking about putting the customer first is all well and good, but coffee shop chains need to take real responsibility for the well-being of their customers going forward.
You can watching the full Watchdog investigation on BBC tonight at 8pm.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.