Another day, another drink contaminated with poop. It was only three weeks ago that Starbucks iced drinks were found to be contaminated with fecal bacteria coming from human poop, as reported by the BBC’s consumer series Watchdog.
Now, Watchdog is reporting that they tested 30 fast-food locations to see if fecal bacteria was found in any of them, and the results are alarming. Out of all the 30 restaurants, fecal coliform bacteria was found on at least three McDonald’s, six Burger King, and seven KFC locations in the United Kingdom. Not only that, but most of the samples taken from Burger King and KFC contained “significant levels” of bacteria.
According to water standards in the U.K., the level of bacteria that is allowed to be present in water for human consumption is zero, which means that even the slightest trace of it would immediately make the sample contaminated.
The products tested were all the drinks served with ice, which means it’s the ice that is contaminated, just as with Starbucks, Caffe Nero, and Costa Coffee three weeks ago.
Spokespersons for the fast-food chains gave statements on the matter, with a representative for KFC saying that “we have strict procedures for the management and handling of ice, including daily and weekly inspections and cleaning of the ice machine and storage holds, as well as the routine testing of ice quality across our business.”
“Cleanliness and hygiene are a top priority for the Burger King brand,” said a spokesperson for Burger King.
As for McDonald’s, its spokesperson mentioned that “nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and people and we will continue to review our procedures and training, working closely with our restaurant teams to ensure those procedures are adhered to at all times.”
The samples taken from McDonald’s didn’t include traces of Escherichia coli, and only two indicators of bacteria were found at low levels, which is “pleasing,” according to Tom Humphrey, professor of bacteriology and food safety.
“These can be used as an assessment of water hygiene but, as they are widely distributed in the natural environment, they are not reliable indicators of potential health risks.”
Even though KFC immediately shut down the ice machines at the contaminated locations, and probably the other chains did too, it might be time to stay away from iced drinks for awhile.
[Featured Image by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]