Over the summer Traces of faecal bacteria was found in Britain’s biggest coffee houses.
According to experts, Caffe Nero, Costa and Starbucks are serving up cups laced with grim matter, an investigation has revealed.
Ice collected from the high street brands found poor levels of hygiene with seven out of ten samples from Costa drinks contaminated with bacteria found in faeces.
Three out of ten samples tested from both Starbucks and Caffe Nero were also found to contain coliform bacteria which is a huge concern as the bugs can cause illness.
Unwashed hands are the most likely cause of dirty ice and Tony Lewis head of policy and education at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health said of the show’s findings: “The level of contamination of faecal bacteria concerns me a great deal.”
He told Watchdog: “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.”
The consumer programme tested ice after coffee chains launched summer drinks menus and also took swabs from tables, trays and high chairs.
But it was the iced drinks that were deemed a “significant” health risk by the BBC team.
When the chains were told of the iced “crappuccino” contamination, Watchdog said they took “immediate action”.
Since the findings, Costa has deep cleansed all its coffee shops and changed the way ice is handled with scoops stored outside ice machines.
Starbucks has updated hygiene training for all staff and will be carrying out spot checks in all its stores.
And Caffe Nero has launched its own “thorough investigation” into the shock results.
In a statement Costa said: “We were disappointed with the findings, especially as these stores are all rated ‘Very Good’ with a the top Hygiene Rating of 5.
“It is extremely important to us that all our stores operate to high standards of hygiene at all times and we take it very seriously when any store fails to meet these standards.”
Starbucks told Watchdog: “We take hygiene and cleanliness extremely seriously. We have moved quickly to conduct our own investigation into the claims about the stores you have identified.
“All employees nationwide have received updated training on our high standards of hygiene including ice handling. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers.”
And Caffe Nero said: “We take the cleanliness and safety of our stores very seriously. We have a team dedicated solely to ensuring that all aspects of safety are maintained and our stores have detailed and timely cleaning schedules to ensure that they are kept up to standard.
“These standards are regularly audited by our Operations team.
“All of our staff are trained on these procedures and 99% of our stores are rated as very good, good or satisfactory by their local environmental halt officer making us one of the most highly rated businesses on the high street.
“We are concerned to read the findings in your recent report and a thorough investigation is now underway and the appropriate action will be taken.”
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