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Oh, Crap: Your Soda Just Might Contain Fecal Matter

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Remember when we told you about how there might be fecal matter in your Starbucks iced coffee? Well, those pesky poop particles have made their way into plenty of other drinks, a new BBC study reveals.

Traces of fecal bacteria were found in U.K. locations of three of the world's largest food chains: McDonald's, Burger King and KFC, where plenty of people go for supersize Cokes and Dr. Peppers. The BBC program "Watchdog" tested for disease-carrying fecal coliform bacteria in 10 drink samples at each chain, and the results were smelly, according to CNBC.

Six of Burger King's and seven of KFC's samples contained coliforms, which are banned at high levels in drinking water by the EPA, as they indicate the possibility of fecal contamination, according to ABC News. Several of the chains' contaminated samples had "significant" levels of the bacteria.

If you're in the US and think you're safe from poo bacteria, don't. ABC News reported on a study that found coliform bacteria in nearly half of all sodas dispensed from a sample of 30 machines in Virginia, and they guessed the problem is much more widespread.

"Wherever man is there will be representation of feces," microbiologist Philip Tierno told ABC. "We're basically bathed in feces as a society."

Oh, what a lovely image. It's pretty easy for soft-drink machines to become infested with bacteria, according to ABC News, as just one contamination of the soda nozzle can lead to more bacteria making their way through the tubing, into the machine and back out into our tasty sodas.

Sure, cleaning the nozzles daily and the machines monthly would be an effective solution, but experts doubt that restaurants are aware of the necessity.

"...my guess is that most restaurant owners wouldn't have the vaguest idea about how to flush those machines, or that they would even need too," biology professor Renee Godard told ABC News.

And there's always the possibility that even if restaurants have cleaning measures in place, people aren't adhering to them.

"We are shocked and extremely disappointed by these results," a KFC spokesperson said following the BBC study. "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."

Down to the nitty-gritty, though: You're probably not going to die or get a serious disease from contaminated soda. But there is cause for concern if coliforms lead to more serious strands of bacteria, like E. coli, or fecal contamination-induced viruses, ABC News reports.

For now, order your iced coffees and Diet Cokes with caution, or sneak your own bottled beverages into restaurants.

Sources: CNBC, ABC News / Photo credit: Kurt Nordstrom/Flickr