You've probably seen the signs in public washrooms that state that employees must wash their hands before returning to the kitchen.
All we can do is hope that employees actually follow the instructions when it comes to how they handle our fast food. But did you know that there is one other place that fecal matter can spread?
If you're drinking pop from a soda fountain, you might want to put that cup down.
A 2010 study of soda fountain machines in one area of Virginia tested positive for coliform bacteria, which can indicate fecal contamination.
That's poop, people.
Not convinced? See the test results on Page 2
The Truth Is Pretty Gross
The researchers also detected antibiotic-resistant microbes and E.coli in some soda samples. According to a CNN report, researchers collected 90 beverages (sugar soda, diet soda and water) from 30 fast food restaurants in a 22-mile radius near Roanoke, South Virginia.
They discovered that 48 percent of beverages from soda fountains contained coliform bacteria. E. coli was found in 11 percent of those drinks and 17 percent had Chryseobacterium meningospecticum (a bacteria that can sicken newborns and adults with weak immune systems).
Although it might be hasty to assume that all soda fountains contain these bacteria, the chances seem pretty good that, if tested, many more in other counties would render the same results.
It should be noted that there were no reported outbreaks of food-borne illness in the area at the time of the study.
Although it is uncertain how the bacteria is getting into the fountains, researchers speculate that "it cold be from dispensing with a hand that wasn't clean, or from using wet rags to wipe down the machine. "