Ice used at three coffee chains in Britain found to contain bacteria from faeces

Samples of iced drinks from Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Caffe Nero contained varying levels of the bacteria, which one expert said was "concerning".
Samples of iced drinks from Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Caffe Nero contained varying levels of the bacteria, which one expert said was "concerning".PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON - The ice used for cold drinks at three of Britain's biggest coffee chains has been found to contain bacteria from faeces, according to a BBC investigation.

Samples of iced drinks from Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Caffe Nero contained varying levels of the bacteria, which one expert said was "concerning".

"These should not be present at any level - never mind the significant numbers found," Dr Tony Lewis of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health told the BBC's Watchdog.

The cleanliness of tables, trays and high chairs used at outlets of the coffee chains were also tested at 30 branches.

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Seven out of 10 samples of Costa ice were found to be contaminated with bacteria found in faeces, while three in 10 samples at Starbucks and Caffe Nero contained the faecal coliforms.

Dr Lewis said these kinds of bacteria were "opportunistic pathogens - the source of human disease". Following the expose, all three chains said they were taking action.

Costa said it had updated its ice-handling guidelines and was introducing new ice equipment storage, while Starbuck and Caffe Nero said they were conducting an investigation.