KFC has been reportedly caught using ice that contained bacteria found in feces. The shocking discovery was made by researchers who were investigating food hygiene standards at popular fast food outlets.
Undercover journalists discovered KFC was serving ice that was contaminated with bacteria commonly found in feces. The appalling revelation has prompted KFC to initiate an investigation into one of its U.K. restaurants. The researchers claim a “high level” of bacteria was found. The ice with the bacteria was found in cold drinks.
The researchers, who made the discovery of ice tainted with the harmful bacteria, were part of an undercover investigation being conducted by BBC. Evidently, reporters from BBC One’s Rip Off Britain were served ice at the Martineau Place branch of the KFC outlet in Birmingham as part of a broader investigation into food standards across the UK, reported Mashable.
The reporters sent swabs of the drinks to Leeds Beckett University. Researchers at the lab found “high levels” of fecal coliform in the drinks. The bacteria are commonly found in fecal matter and originate in the intestines of warm-blooded animals, including humans. While the mere presence of the bacteria is by no means an indicator of contamination, it can serve as a warning sign of lurking pathogens. Higher quantities of these bacteria in contaminated water or food have been linked to ear infections, dysentery, typhoid fever, viral, and bacterial gastroenteritis.
Dr. Margarita Gomez Escalada, one of the scientists working at Leeds Beckett University, noted the bacteria posed a risk of illness to anyone who might drink the icy water.
“We found high levels of bacteria in the ice. The bacteria increased the risk of anyone who consumed the ice becoming ill. The presence of fecal coliform suggests that there’s fecal contamination either on the water that made the ice, or the ice itself, and so it increases the risk of getting sick from consuming this ice.”
Rip Off Britain is an investigative series that attempts to expose the callous attitude with which the fast food industry treats its raw materials and in extension, safety of its customers. The show sends out reporters to takeaway outlets and coffee shops across the country and collects samples of food to test the level of hygiene observed.
While the ambience at the fast food outlet might imply cleanliness, there could be complete disarray behind the kitchen door. More often than not, the kitchen staff doesn’t follow safety and cleanliness protocols. Poor hygiene of the staff can expose hundreds of customers to harmful and dangerous pathogens. Food contamination is a serious problem, but often the management turns a blind eye.
At majority of the outlets, the reporters request tap water with ice, which is usually an excellent indicator of standards followed at a restaurant. A clean sample of water can indicate a hygienic kitchen since it is most commonly used ingredient. The teams have so far visited a Costa coffee in Loughborough, a Chicken Cottage in Hampstead, North London, a Bath branch of Café Nero and a Wimpy in Basildon, as well as the Birmingham KFC. Fortunately, most of the samples turned up with low and harmless levels of bacteria, reported CNBC.
The potentially disastrous report about ice contaminated with fecal bacteria prompted KFC to launch its own investigation. The spokesperson for the fast food chain confirmed a thorough re-evaluation of the premises was conducted and the U.K.’s Environmental Health Office has awarded it the highest rating of five out of five, reported The Metro. The food chain went on to mention that each and every outlet is subjected to its own unannounced independent audits that are conducted on a regular basis to maintain the highest standards of quality and hygiene.
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