If you're rarely seen without an iced coffee or frappe during the summer, you might want to think again about your choice of drink. A new investigation by BBC One's Watchdog carried out in Starbucks, Costa and Caffe Nero has discovered that samples from iced drinks were contaminated with faecal bacteria.
The BBC said that faecal coliforms, which contain disease-causing pathogens, were found in seven out of ten Costa drinks, and three out of ten drinks at both Starbucks and Caffe Nero – much to the concern of both customers and environmental health experts. Tony Lewis, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, told the programme: "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."
Faecal bacteria was found in some iced coffee drinks
The samples were taken from cafés in Salford, Greater Manchester, as part of an investigation into the cleanliness of coffee chains. Bosses from each of the three popular high street chains have said they will now look into the claims and review their own health and safety procedures.
A spokesperson for Costa said: "We are 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."
Meanwhile a spokesman for Caffe Nero said that a "thorough investigation" was underway, but added that the chain was "one of the most highly rated businesses on the high street" as 99 per cent of stores are rated as very good, good or satisfactory. Starbucks is also conducting its own investigation into the cleanliness of its stores and said it takes hygiene "extremely seriously". Full details of the investigation will appear in Watchdog on BBC One on Wednesday at 8pm.