If you're thinking about cooling down and perking up with an afternoon Starbucks venti iced coffee, you may want to reconsider. It seems that the ice in those beloved frapps, iced caramel macchiatos, and Tazo iced teas has an extra ingredient that's rather, how shall we say, off-putting.
The ice used by three of your favorite coffee chains - Starbucks, Costa Coffee, and Caffe Nerro - have tested positive for human fecal bacteria. Researchers from the BBC's Watchdog reported that these three major coffee chains have varying levels of fecal matter in UK locations, and that is reason for concern.
When test results came back, Starbucks and Caffe Nero had three out of ten samples test positive for fecal coliforms - an intestinal bacteria in warm-bloodied animals. Costa Coffee on the other hand had seven out of ten samples test positive for a human feces bacteria.
Along with the ice, researchers tested the facilities of 30 branches. Samples were taken from tables, trays, and high chairs to determine the cleanliness. What researchers found was a concerning level of contamination.
Spokesman Tony Lewis of the Charter of Institute of Environmental Health, said these numbers should not be present, no matter the level. He stated that these bacteria are "opportunistic pathogens - the source of human disease."
One of the most common bacteria forms being Escherichia Coli - E. coli. E. coli contaminated water and food can lead to serious food poisoning causing cramps and diarrhea. It can lead to extreme health issues such as kidney failure and Hepatitis A. There is no sign, however, that the ice sampled contains E. coli.
In light of the recent findings, all three coffee chains have taken immediate action. Starbucks has begun conducting its own investigation as wells as updating employee training on hygiene. Caffee Nero is conducting their own investigation as well, and is prepared to take appropriate action. Costa Coffee is updating their handling procedures to ensure proper hygiene and is disappointed about the findings or their top rated stores.
While all coffee chains are taking a course of action to rectify the situation, maybe it's best to steer clear of iced coffee for awhile and stick to your own cold brew methods.