ice ice poopy

Hey, So There’s Poo in Your Favourite Iced Drinks

Starbucks, Caffè Nero and Costa have all been shitting in the ice. But my question is: why.

by Joel Golby
28 June 2017, 8:00pm

Should mention this is actually frozen coffee (or................. is it?) (Image via Jimmie)

Hey, so there's poo in the ice. At Starbucks and Caffè Nero and Costa. Poo ice. Poo in the ice. This is considered bad because, ideally, there should be about zero molecules of turd or turd-derived bacteria in the ice, but actually there is like way more than that in the ice that BBC Watchdog tested at the three major coffee chains, and so therein lies a problem.

The problem is we've all been drinking poo ice.

I have some questions, re: how the poo ended up in the ice, but first we're going to quote the BBC, seeing as they did the legwork of the investigation (poo, ice) and then we can really get into it re: seriously, though, how did a poo end up in my ice? And so:

Samples of iced drinks from Costa Coffee, Starbucks and Caffe Nero contained varying levels of the bacteria, the BBC's Watchdog found.

Expert Tony Lewis said the levels found were "concerning".

"These should not be present at any level – never mind the significant numbers found," he added.

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

Seven out of 10 samples of Costa ice were found to be contaminated with bacteria found in faeces.

At both Starbucks and Caffe Nero, three out of 10 samples tested contained the bacteria known as faecal coliforms.

Thank you, poo ice police. Also this bit:

All three chains affected said they had now taken action.

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

Starbucks said it was now conducting its own investigation into the claims.

A spokesman said the chain took hygiene "extremely seriously".

Okay, so here are my questions I suppose:

  1. At what point in the supply chain is poo getting in my ice? I am but a simple man. I have always made ice the old fashioned way (take the ice cube tray to the tap; fill it up with water; very carefully walk it over to the freezer; find that in the six-to-ten seconds since I last left it the freezer drawer has re-arranged itself so precariously that I have to, now, one-handed, re-order it so as to make flat space for the ice cube tray, moving boxes of waffles and Fab lollies and such; placing the tray down v. carefully in the drawer; spilling most of if not the whole thing when I close it back up again, total yield three cubes) and at no stage do I do a full or partial shit in my ice. You have to assume Starbucks, Nero and Costa are doing something industrial with their ice, to create great mounds of it, especially during the summer when everybody wants a Frappuccino or similar cold blended drink. Where's that shit coming from.
  2. "Costa said it had updated its ice-handling guidelines and was in the process of introducing new ice equipment storage." I mean, were the previous guidelines just "shit in your hands then touch ice" and "please store ice bags in the toilet ONLY the ice must NOT be held in a freezer compartment", like Costa how is so much turd getting in your ice?
  3. HYPOTHETICALLY, how much turd can you safely consume without dying? Some people do it for fun, sexual fun. Some people gorge on turd for kicks. The practise of coprophagia has been observed in humans with mental health issues. According to French humanist writer François Rabelais, centuries ago physicians used to taste their patients' faeces to better diagnose their diseases. The moral here is: people, in certain circumstances, eat shit. We only don't chow on turd because society has created a structure that tells us not to.
  4. Turd expert Tony Lewis says the results of the test were "concerning", adding: "These should not be present at any level – never mind the significant numbers found," which suggests to me there is an acceptable amount of turd-in-ice (absolute zero turd) and an unacceptable amount of turd-in-ice (anything more than absolute zero). But I feel there is maybe a little grey, fuzzy area in between those two extremes that suggests a spectrum. Watchdog is not clear on the measurement system, here. How much turd is too much turd to have in your ice? Arguably, even one speck of turd is too much. But – JUST TO PLAY DEVIL'S ADVOCATE – we have apparently all been drinking poo ice for years and it's not hurt anybody yet. Let's not jump the gun on this. Let's not go pulling triggers about the poo ice. I think a small amount of turd – not enough to see or taste, but enough to show up on a test – a small amount of turd is not going to change my life.
  5. How many ice coffees I got to drink before I have consumed 1 x turdo, and do I get a loyalty card for it?

Listen, I am a man of constant faecal suspicion and as such have always sort of suspected that my ice contained either full turds or at least turd molecules. Question: have you ever observed for any great period of time the number of people who exit public toilets without washing their hands first? That will make you suspect there is shit on every damn thing in the world: door handles, the bell-switch on buses, computer keyboards, shared fridges. There is shit on everything, everywhere. All around you are shit-handed monsters. Everyone's hands are dirty and they are smearing every possible available surface with their turds. Also, there have been news stories for years alleging that McDonald's ice is basically just frozen toilet water. Turd bits in the ice is bad, yes, but it is nothing compared to the toilet world we live in.

(That said, I would wait on Starbucks et al to fully come out publicly and say "Hey: we sorted the shit-in-the-ice problem out! No more poo ice, lads!" before committing to drinking a Frappuccino this summer.)

@joelgolby