Possibly one of the worst things you can order at fast food restaurants is soda. It's empty calories, and all that high fructose corn syrup is a leading cause of obesity in America. But like fast food, it's hard to quit. Luckily, you may have some new motivation to put those fast food beverages down for good.
BBC newsmagazine Watchdog conducted an investigation into the hygiene of fast food establishments in the UK. We all know that fast food establishments aren't beacons of sanitation. But the results were still shocking.
There have been some pretty gross things found in fast food before. Could this have been much worse? Well, they looked into beverages at a few fast food chains, specifically McDonald's, Burger King and KFC.
There's a number of ways these drinks could have been contaminated. They may have been too lax on cleaning the ice machines. The water could be impure. Or, maybe some employees thought being told they must wash their hands after using the bathroom was a bit dramatic.
Investigators tested 10 drinks each at McDonald's, Burger King and KFC. They found fecal coliforms in three samples of McDonald’s drinks, six of Burger King’s and in seven samples taken from KFC. To break that down, at best you have a 30 percent chance of having fecal residue in your Mountain Dew.
Think finding number two in your extra large number seven meal is bad? They determined five of the samples taken from KFC and four of the samples taken at Burger King had what they called “significant” levels of contamination. What's worse than crap in your cola? A lot of crap in your cola.
"We are shocked and extremely disappointed by these results. We have strict procedures for the management and handling of ice, including daily and weekly inspections and cleaning of the ice machine and storage holds, as well as the routine testing of ice quality across our business."
"We have robust procedures in place with regard to the production, storage and handling of ice in our U.K. restaurants. Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and people and we will continue to review our procedures and training, working closely with our restaurant teams to ensure those procedures are adhered to at all times."
"It is pleasing that Escherichia coli (E. coli), the bacterium that is the most accurate and reliable indicator of fecal contamination, was not found in any ice samples from McDonald’s restaurants. Low levels of two other indicator bacteria, coliforms and enterococci, were found in some ice samples. These can be used as an assessment of water hygiene but, as they are widely distributed in the natural environment, they are not reliable indicators of potential health risks."
So, to break all that down more succinctly, they're basically saying, "Yeah, we found poop bacteria in our drinks. But at least it wasn't the worst poop bacteria. I don't see what all the fuss is about."
So if that doesn't turn you off fast food, I don't know what will. Maybe we should just stick to salads until they sort all this crap out. Just be sure you're doing salads correctly. And wash your damn hands. Don't want those getting contaminated, too.