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Fecal Bacteria Found in Ice Served at KFC Birmingham Branch

Apr 26, 2016 03:03 AM EDT

After resolving the "deep-fried rat" issue, KFC is once again in the headlines over concerns of the fast food chain's cleanliness and sanitation.

Undercover researchers from the BBC program Rip Off Britain found traces of bacteria that can be found in feces in the ice and water served in one of KFC's branches in Birmingham, UK.

Dr Margarita Gomez Escalada, who studied the sample at Leeds Beckett University, told the program, "The presence of faecal coliform suggests that there's faecal contamination either in the water that made the ice, or the ice itself, and so it increases the risk of getting sick from consuming this ice."

Dr. Escalada doesn't have any idea how the fecal bacteria got into the ice.

"The thing I think is most likely is that it got there through manipulation. So someone touched the ice and their hands weren't particularly clean," Dr. Escalada added.

Upon hearing the report, KFC quickly launched into action to close the branch in question for a deep clean.

"When we reported this to KFC, they were horrified. They literally leapt to action and they got the Food Standards Agency back," said Angela Rippon of Rip Off Britain.

KFC told the program that the company takes "food safety and hygiene extremely seriously". The fast food chain has also undertaken "a retraining programme with all team members on our standards for touch point cleaning and procedures".

At present, the branch in question now has a five out of five rating, which means they are thoroughly clean and safe.

Rip Off Britain is a BBC program that investigates food hygiene standards at big-name takeaways and coffee shops. Aside from the KFC at Martineau Place in Birmingham, the undercover researchers also visited a branch of Costa in Loughborough, the Chicken Cottage in Hampstead, a Café Nero in Bath and the Wimpy in Basildon.

In each of the places they visited, the undercover researchers asked for a glass of water and ice, which can tell a lot about behind-the-scenes cleanliness of a food place.

Among the restaurants visited, KFC was the only one with high concentration of fecal bacteria, while others have either low or none at all.

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