SOME drinks served at popular pubs could be contaminated with faecal bacteria, a BBC investigation has found.

On an episode of BBC1’s Watchdog undercover reporters are seen taking samples from Harvester, Hungry Horse, JD Wetherspoon, Slug and Lettuce, and Marston’s Two For One, which confirm that the drinks were contaminated.

Tony Lewis of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, who analysed the findings for the show, told the Express it may present a risk to people’s health.

He said: “If ice loaded up with the wrong type of bacteria then it can make us ill. So that’s why this is a concern.

"On the basis of the chains that we’ve looked at, industry needs to do better, making sure that their cleanliness is being well managed.”

All of the pubs involved have released statements on the report, set to air tonight.

A spokesman for JD Wetherspoon said all of its pubs use a bespoke ice-handling system designed to avoid contact with employee’s hands.

They added: “We take on board the findings of the report. Food safety is of paramount importance within our pubs. Our Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Scores clearly demonstrates this, with 804 of our pubs [around 90 per cent] eligible for the scheme [as it excludes Scotland and the Republic of Ireland] scoring an average 4.97 out of 5, and more than 97 per cent scoring a perfect 5.”

Slug & Lettuce said they take hygiene standards “extremely seriously” and have average 4.9/5-star EHO food hygiene ratings across all sites tested.

A statement read: “We immediately investigated the claims made by Watchdog, commissioned audits, and reiterated our processes to all sites.

“We would like to reassure our customers of the strict procedures and high standards expected in our bars.”

Hungry Horse said: “We take the cleanliness and hygiene of our pubs very seriously and the safety of our customers is a top priority.

“We are disappointed with these findings in a small number of our pubs, especially as nine of the ten pubs visited have the highest 5-star hygiene rating, the other pub has 4 stars and they have all been independently audited in the last four months. We have moved quickly to conduct our own investigation and would like to reassure our customers that independent auditors are also revisiting the 10 pubs this week.”

Two for One said: "We are obviously disappointed and surprised at the results Watchdog found. As an immediate result of this, all of these pubs are being re-audited and refresher training is taking place this week. We have also instigated our own tests following the results of the Watchdog research.”

Harvester said: “The cleanliness and hygiene of our restaurants is of critical importance, as is the welfare of our guests and staff. The restaurants surveyed are all of a high standard as assessed by external inspectors and we want to reassure our guests they should have no concerns about any health risks related to the matters referred to in this programme.”