Is There Fecal Bacteria In Your Iced Coffee?

Oh, poo. 

That's probably what managers of these coffee shops said when fecal bacteria was found in their iced drinks. 

Ice from three of the U.K.'s largest coffee chains, Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Caffe Nero, was found to contain fecal bacteria, according to a BBC investigation. 

And yep, fecal bacteria as in bacteria that can be found in poop.

BBC's Watchdog found that samples of iced drinks from those three major coffee chains contain varying levels of the bacteria known as fecal coliforms. 

I’m no expert on fecal coliforms, but it definitely doesn't sound like an add-in I would want in my iced coffee. I’m more of an extra-espresso-shot girl.  

Seven out of the 10 samples tested at Costa were found to be contaminated with the bacteria. At both Starbucks and Caffe Nero, three out of 10 tested samples contained the bacteria. 

"These should not be present at any level - never mind the significant numbers found," said Tony Lewis, head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

Lewis said that the levels found were “concerning,” BBC reports. According to Lewis, the kind of bacteria found were "opportunistic pathogens - the source of human disease.” Yikes.

However, a LiveScience article reassuringly titled, “No, There Isn’t Poop In Your Iced Coffee,” reports that fecal coliform is a large group of bacteria that can be found in many other things, such as fruits and vegetables, and isn’t always harmful.

“Many types of bacteria that fall into the fecal coliform group aren't necessarily found in feces,” though the presence of these bacteria could indicate that there is something present that could make a person sick.

Factors such as whether the bacteria is alive or dead are important in determining if it will be harmful to humans.

The three coffee chains are responding seriously to this issue.

Costa said it has updated its ice-handling procedure guidelines and is in the process of bringing in new ice equipment storage, according to BBC.

Starbucks and Caffe Nero have stated that they are conducting investigations into the claims.

A Starbucks spokesman said the chain takes hygiene “extremely seriously,” while a Caffe Nero spokesman said the chain will take “appropriate action.”

Live fecal coliforms or dead fecal coliforms, that’s probably a wise course of action.