New Study: Nearly Half of Fast Food Soda Fountains Contaminated With Fecal Bacteria

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The Upstairs Room @ flickr.com CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Not that I need to raise more alarms about food safety. We already have mercury in our sushi, unsafe airport food, and E-coli outbreaks which happen too often. We could go on for hours on the subject. But this one news item? Well, it's disturbing on two levels:

1. Fountain drinks are already overpriced
2. But now, new research by scientists at Hollins University in Virginia has revealed that about half the fast food soda fountains they tested were contaminated with, among others, coliform bacteria, which is commonly associated with fecal matter.

They write:

"Ninety beverages of three types (sugar sodas, diet sodas and water) were obtained from 20 self-service and 10 personnel-dispensed soda fountains, analyzed for microbial contamination, and evaluated with respect to U.S. drinking water regulations... More than 11% of the beverages analyzed contained Escherichia coli and over 17% contained Chryseobacterium meningosepticum. Other opportunistic pathogenic microorganisms isolated from the beverages included species of Klebsiella, Staphylococcus, Stenotrophomonas, Candida, and Serratia. Most of the identified bacteria showed resistance to one or more of the 11 antibiotics tested."

It reminds me how true that old aphorism is: "Living is dangerous to your health". But what I'm dreading now is the study that finally pops the denial bubble on self-serve salsa bars.



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