Updated July 25, 8:35 a.m. PT: I don't think it's that crazy to walk into a fast-food place with the expectation that there won't be literal poop in my food, but apparently that's too much to ask for these days.
On the heels of a BBC One investigation that found that the ice at Starbucks, Caffè Nero and Costa Coffee in the U.K. contain bacteria from fecal matter (also known as poop, y'all), they dug a little deeper and found that the ice at several McDonald's, KFC and Burger King locations contained the nasty substance too.
BBC One's Watchdog group took samples of drinks from all three chains, with three McDonald's, six Burger Kings and seven KFCs testing positive — including four samples at Burger King and five at KFC that contained significant amounts of fecal bacteria.
Though all the locations have high hygiene ratings from the Environmental Health Office, they're now being forced to look at how they can make their ice production more hygienic and safe. McDonald's said in a statement, "As the investigation highlights, there are no specific ice production standards in place, only those relating to unfrozen drinking water. We would therefore welcome the introduction of an agreed standard and would be happy to work with relevant industry bodies."
It's kind of shocking that there isn't already a standard in place for ensuring that ice machines remain clean and sanitary. But hopefully this investigation has proven that there's widespread need for better hygiene practices and accountability when it comes to the ice in our drinks and will get the ball rolling on some new standards that will make dining out a safer, cleaner affair. Because honestly, if going out means getting a hefty dose of poo in our diet soda, I think we're all better off just staying at home.
People flock to major chains like Starbucks because of one big factor: consistency. We come to rely on the fact that everything will be done the same way every time and count on corporate red tape and health code regulations to ensure that food safety is a priority.
And yet often we're totally betrayed by these big companies (here's looking at you, Chipotle). The latest culprits: Starbucks, Caffè Nero and Costa Coffee in the U.K., which were found to have fecal matter in their iced beverages. Of all things — fecal matter, really?!
The BBC tested 10 ice samples from each of the three coffee chains, which are the most popular ones in the U.K. Costa Coffee was the worst offender, with seven of the 10 samples containing the bacteria, while Starbucks and Caffè Nero both has three of 10 ice samples test positive.
Listen. I get that this was in a different country, but shouldn't a company like Starbucks have international health standards? How did this happen? And honestly, if it could happen in the U.K., it's probably happening somewhere in the U.S. too.
The strange thing is that all three chains and the locations where the samples were taken have high ratings by the local health inspectors. There's a chance that the contamination was the result of improper employee handling, and all three chains have responded by retraining their staff on proper ice handling procedures.
So the next time I head to my local coffee shop, I think I'll be opting for a hot beverage. It might seem a little alarmist to carry around a Thermos full of ice from home so I can chill my own drinks, but when it's between that or drinking literal shit, the choice seems obvious.
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