For corporate yuppies and anti-capitalist hipsters, there’s nothing better than paying a visit to the local symbol of decrepit capitalism, let’s say Starbucks, where you can enjoy an over priced iced coffee and free Wi-Fi, especially when one’s confronted with a heat wave, like it’s the case with large parts of the US or, why not, Europe.
However, judging from a very recent BBC investigation, one would think twice before spending his/hers hard earned dollars or euros or pounds in a fine establishment like Starbucks. Watchdog, as its name suggests, is BBC’s consumer affairs program and after a thorough analysis of various iced drinks from 3 UK coffee chains (Starbucks, Caffe Nero and Costa Coffee), the conclusion was pretty horrifying: the samples contained fecal bacteria in varying levels. Together with samples of iced drinks, the researchers also evaluated the cleanliness of the respective locals, such as trays, tables and high chairs. Thirty restaurants/local coffee chain branches were surveyed in total and, praise God, Starbucks was not the worst public hygiene offender.
However, even if Costa Coffee was found to be the dirtiest, with 7 out of 10 samples being contaminated with fecal bacteria, Starbucks (sharing the same numbers with Coffee Nero) boasted its 3 out of 10 samples testing positive for fecal coliforms, i.e. bacteria found in feces. Needless to say, these levels are quite concerning, as these types of bacteria are very detrimental to human health making for a source of disease. And obviously, fecal bacteria should never be found in one’s food nor drink, never mind the huge numbers found by BBC’s investigation. Following the extremely worrying findings, all companies announced to have updated ice handling guidelines and that they’re in the process of upgrading their ice equipment storage. Also, obviously, that they take hygiene extremely seriously.