We assume we are safe anytime we order a drink from popular food outlets. However, BBC One’s Watchdog programme recently revealed how even the best-known UK brands fall foul of standards. Reporters tested fizzy beverages from Cineworld, Odeon and Vue cinemas for bacteria levels with startling results: seven out of the thirty tested branches had unacceptable levels of bacteria.
The bacteria types identified ranged from salmonella in drinks to listeria contaminating drinks holders with levels as much as 10,000-times the acceptable limit. It’s not just the cinemas at fault. Reports of faecal matter on the ice at fast-food outlets have also emerged; while iced drinks at major coffee chains showed the same findings with as many as seven-in-ten drinks from popular UK coffee shop, Costa, testing positive for coliform bacteria.
While you’d hope the health standards of any high street chain are among the best, the findings in Britain suggest otherwise: 70 per cent of tested iced drinks from Costa had elevated bacteria levels; with 30 per cent of samples in both Starbucks and Caffe Nero also above the acceptable threshold.
Unfortunately, fast food chains perform no better: McDonald’s matched Starbucks’ rate for excessive bacteria; Burger King failed in six-out-of-ten drinks; while KFC suffered a similar plight to Costa Coffee.
Worryingly, BBC’s Watchdog described the contamination as significant in most of cases. With experts suggesting the findings are either a hygiene issue, or result from contaminated water sources – so, employees are either not washing their hands, or not cleaning the dispensers.
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The presence of bacteria at such elevated levels is legitimate grounds for concern. Operators should feel compelled to take the necessary steps to guarantee the safety of their customers. Failure to do so could result in widespread illness or worse, a risk no-one should be willing to face. How confident are you in the hygiene level of your business?