(NaturalNews) The fast-food chain KFC is conducting an investigation into one of its UK restaurants after undercover reporters were served ice that harbored harmful bacteria found in feces.
The reporters who made the discovery were part of an undercover report conducted by BBC's Rip Off Britain, which was investigating food hygiene at major fast food restaurants and coffee shops. The reporters were served ice at the Martineau Place branch of the KFC, reports Inquisitr.
The researchers sent samples of the bacteria-tainted ice to Leeds Beckett University. The team discovered high levels of fecal coliform in the drink. The bacteria are usually found in fecal matter. The presence of the bacteria suggests pathogens could be present. Food and drinks with large quantities of coliform bacteria can stir flu-like symptoms, including fever, abdominal cramps and bloating.
Margarita Gomez Escalada, a senior lecturer from Leeds Beckett University, analyzed the sample obtained from the the KFC restaurant in Birmingham. She told the program:
"We found high levels of bacteria in the ice. 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."
The KFC restaurant has been temporarily shut down in wake of the study. Just two weeks before the ice samples were taken, the same KFC restaurant received a zero hygiene rating.
Most of the samples tested had low or benign levels of bacteria, according to the BBC program. Regardless, the test results may give a glimpse of what is lurking behind closed kitchen doors. Poor hygiene among staff can infect customers with virulent pathogens, but restaurant managers often look the other way.
The reporters asked for tap water with ice at most of the restaurants and coffee shops. Tap water with ice is often a good way to test the hygiene standards of a restaurant. Water is one the most used resources in a kitchen. A dirty water sample suggests the hygienic standards of the kitchen aren't up to snuff.
In addition to the Birmingham KFC, the undercover reporters visited a Costa coffee in Loughborough, a Chicken Cottage in Hampstead, North London, and Bath branch of Cafe Nero, noted the Inquisitr. Thus far, the majority of samples have had low or harmless levels of bacteria.
The Colonel responds
The results of the investigation has prompted KFC to conduct their own investigation into the restaurant. "We take food safety and hygiene extremely seriously at KFC, and with 95 percent of our restaurants achieving a score of 4 or above, having just one of our 890 restaurants with a zero rating was completely unacceptable, which is why we worked with a specialist third party consultant to get the restaurant back to our high standards," Janet Cox, the head of health, safety and environment at KFC U.K. and Ireland, told CNBC by email.
"It was good to see from the tests that the restaurant was very clean, however we were extremely disappointed by the ice test results and immediately launched an investigation. We have also undertaken a retraining program with all team members on our standards for touch point cleaning and procedures," she added.
KFC said it was conducting "a retraining program with all team members on our standards for touch point cleaning and procedures."
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