Faecal bacteria found in ice at several coffee chains

A BBC probe found varying levels of the bacteria

Faecal bacteria found in ice at several coffee chains

Starbucks cups in a bin in Duisburg, Germany | Image: Roland Weihrauch/DPA/PA Images

An investigation has found ice from three coffee chains contained bacteria from faeces.

A BBC Watchdog probe says samples of iced drinks from Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Caffe Nero in the UK contained "varying levels" of the bacteria.

Cleanliness of tables, trays, and high chairs at the chains was also tested at 30 British branches.

Seven out of 10 samples of Costa ice were found to be contaminated.

Three out of 10 samples tested at both Starbucks and Caffe Nero contained the bacteria known as faecal coliforms.

A Starbucks spokesperson told Newstalk: "We want to reassure our customers that we take hygiene and cleanliness extremely seriously.

"We have moved quickly to conduct our own investigation into the claims.

"All employees nationwide have received updated training on our high standards of hygiene including ice handling.

"Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our customers."

Costa told the BBC it had updated its ice-handling guidelines and was in the process of introducing new ice equipment storage.

A Caffe Nero spokesman said "a thorough investigation" was underway.

A programme outlining the investigation was aired Wednesday night on BBC One.