A Cappuccino, dose of diarrhoea and projectile vomiting please

Did  you see Watchdog on the BBC a couple of weeks ago? They featured three of our favourite coffee houses, Costa, Starbucks and Nero, and the disgustingly high levels of faecal bacteria found on their premises. Customers had been suffering with digestive upsets, including stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting.

It transpires that the ice used in smoothies and cold drinks contained excessive levels faecal bacteria. Yuk!! However, this wasn’t the worst of it, swabs were taken off tables, trays and high chairs, and found to contain high levels of unhealthy bacteria. How disgusting and how disrespectful to their customers!

I enjoy a double shot of Flat White occasionally, but how many times have I been into one of these coffee houses only to sit down at a sticky, dirty table and be greeted by toilets that were badly in need of a good clean. It simply is not good enough. It’s a good job I always carry my anti-bac wipes with me to give the table a good clean, but I shouldn’t have to do it.

These big brands should be ashamed of themselves. They charge enough for their drinks, sandwiches, cakes and snacks. At the very least they should provide a clean, safe environment for their customers.

I’m not sure if this cleanliness issue is simply down to poor training of staff, or the staff don’t have enough time to clean properly.  Are they using the correct cleaning materials.  I’ve seen the staff give a quick spray to a table from a plain white spray bottle, then rub a cloth over it in a haphazard fashion.  That’s not cleaning it properly. What cleaning materials are they using or is it just a bottle of water with a squirt of bleach in it. What happened to a bucket of hot water and some disinfectant. Have the staff been properly trained in the correct hand-washing technique, because there is a right way and a wrong way to wash hands as explained here by the NHS:  http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/homehygiene/Pages/how-to-wash-your-hands-properly.aspx

Faecal coliforms were found in ice, at levels scientist said were “off the scale”. Costa Coffee were found to be the worst offenders with 7/10 ice samples found to contain faecal bacteria.

Tony Lewis, head of policy and education at The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health said “The levels found concern me a great deal. The bacteria found are opportunistic pathogens – the source of human disease. These should not be present at any level – never mind the significant numbers found.”

There is little wonder that food poisoning is on the increase, and when you consider that food poisoning is the number one cause of debilitating, chronic irritable bowel syndrome, not to mention increasing the risk of more serious gut infections like Clostridium Difficile, potentially leading to sepsis, it’s high time that cleanliness in coffee shops, restaurants and pubs was taken much more seriously.

At this time of the year I see an increase in enquiries both in my health and wellbeing clinic and on Just For Tummies from people suffering with the effects of food poisoning. Food poisoning should always be taken very seriously.  The symptoms are bad enough, painful stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea, but food poisoning, if not properly dealt with can also lead to developing the chronic gut condition Irritable Bowel Syndrome, as well as Clostridium Difficile, a very unpleasant and life-threatening gut infection, and the blood-poisoning disease sepsis.

I always recommend my steam-activated Charcoal capsules, made from coconut shells for such cases. Charcoal has been used as a traditional remedy to cleanse the intestines for hundreds of years.  Back in the mists of time we would suck on burnt wood to relieve indigestion and stomach cramps, and how many pregnant women have a craving for coal when they feel sick.  Wood, coal, charcoal – they are all carbon, and all have absorption qualities.  Things have improved since those times. My Charcoal capsules contain pure steam-activated charcoal and nothing else. They are made in the UK and are suitable for vegans.  Ground coconut shells are highly absorbent when passing through the gut, attracting particles of rotting food, bacteria, fungi and yeasts that may be stuck between the villi.  This ‘debris’ is exited with stool.

If you have food poisoning, take three charcoal capsules half hour before food and three capsules half an hour after food until symptoms subside.  If you have vomiting and diarrhoea for three days or more, seek medical advice. Diarrhoea needs to be taken seriously in the young and elderly so seek advice as soon as symptoms present in such cases.

I also recommend a two week charcoal cleanse when the seasons change, in March, June, September and December. You can spring-clean your gut at any time of the year with charcoal. Just take two charcoal capsules twice daily half hour before food for two weeks.

You can buy my Charcoal capsules here, at £12.95 for 60.


Have a lovely Summer, and don’t forget, always keep a pot of Just For Tummies Charcoal capsules in your medicine cabinet, just in case, and always pack a pot when travelling.

Linda x