Fast-food chain KFC has launched an investigation into one if its U.K. restaurants after a researcher working for the BBC was served ice that contained bacteria from feces.
Margarita Gomez Escalada, a senior lecturer from Leeds Beckett University, studied a sample taken from a restaurant in Birmingham. The findings were part of a wider investigation of several big-name takeaways and coffee shops and were broadcast by the BBC's "Rip Off Britain".
"We found high levels of bacteria in the ice," she told the television program, adding that the bacteria increased the risk of anyone who consumed the ice becoming ill.
"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."
Most of the test samples that were taken turned up with low and harmless levels of bacteria, the BBC program - which was screened on Monday morning - reported.
A spokesperson for KFC in the U.K. said it had launched its own investigation for this particular restaurant, which had since been re-inspected and awarded the highest rating of five out of five by the U.K.'s Environmental Health Office. The food chain added that the investigation was no longer ongoing, but said that all stores are subjected to its own unannounced independent audits.
"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, said in statement to CNBC via 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."