An investigation into McDonald’s touch screens in the UK unearthed a rather unappetizing truth – every machine tested was contaminated by traces of human feces.
The Daily Mail reports that samples were taken from eight stores owned by the fast food giant, and of the six London and two Birmingham stores tested, all touchscreen machines were found to be contaminated by coliforms found in human feces.
Dr. Paul Matawele is from the London Metropolitan University, who conducted the investigation, and he believes the findings are extremely disturbing and clearly indicate the screens are not being cleaned rigorously enough.
Dr. Matawele said, “We were all surprised how much gut and fecal bacteria there was on the touchscreen machines. These cause the kind of infections that people pick up in hospitals.
“For instance Enterococcus fecalis is part of the flora of gastrointestinal tracts of healthy humans and other mammals. It is notorious in hospitals for causing hospital acquired infections.
“These bacteria can be on touchscreen machines for days on end.”
Other worrying bacteria found on the McDonald’s touchscreens included Staphylococcus, which is highly contagious and can lead to blood poisoning and toxic shock syndrome.
Dr. Matawele added that the presence of Staphylococcus is disturbing because there are major concerns that the bacteria in question is becoming resistant to antibiotics.
“Staphylococcus starts around people’s noses, if they touch their nose with their fingers and then transfer it to the touchscreen someone else will get it, and if they have an open cut which it gets into, then it can be dangerous.”
Also present was Listeria bacteria which can cause stillbirths and miscarriages in pregnant women.
Dr. Matawele revealed that because Listeria is rare, he was shocked to find it on the McDonald’s touchscreen machines as it was very contagious and could play havoc with a weak immune system.
Traces of the bacteria Proteus were also discovered, which is found in both human and animal fecal matter and can cause urinary tract infections.
Dr. Matewele added, “Touchscreen technology is being used more and more in our daily lives but these results show people should not eat food straight after touching them, they are unhygienic and can spread disease.
“Someone can be very careful about their own hygiene throughout the day but it could all be undone by using a touchscreen machine once.”
In response, a McDonald’s spokesman said, “Our self-order screens are cleaned frequently throughout the day. All of our restaurants also provide facilities for customers to wash their hands before eating.”