Oh, Crap: Your Soda Just Might Contain Fecal Matter

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By Cooking Panda

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

Tags: Burger King, Contamination, fast food, fecal bacteria, KFC, mcdonald's, Poop
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Ever Wanted To Eat Poo-Shaped Dessert From A Toilet-Like Bowl? There’s A Restaurant For You

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By Cooking Panda

If you’re known to think and talk about poop at the dinner table, there’s a restaurant coming to Toronto just for you: the Poop Cafe Dessert Bar.

At the Koreatown spot, gone will be the days when Mom gasped at you for farting during dinner or when your wimpy friend Samantha sassily interrupted, “Um, we’re eating,” as you described your bowel movements in daring detail.

It’s high time dung got a new rep. One daring business owner thinks it should start with the food scene.

“I’m trying to make poop cute,” said owner Lien Nguyen, according to The Star.

She got the idea for the Poop Cafe when visiting a Taiwanese toilet-themed restaurant a couple of years ago.

“It stayed in my mind for a long time. As soon as I finished school, I said, ‘OK, I’m going to bring the restaurant to Toronto.’”

Poo will not only be an acceptable topic of conversation at the cafe — it’ll run the whole show. Each food on the menu will be appropriately brown, formed into a special doodoo shape and served in a toilet bowl.

It’ll be just like a trip to the bathroom, minus the smell and taste. Dung-for-dessert connoisseurs will enjoy traditional Asian sweets, such as patbingsoo (read beans with ice), as well as soft serve and pudding, at the restaurant.

How stinkin’ cute.

To prevent any poodicaments, Nguyen said she plans to change the menu seasonally to reflect customer feedback. 

While the Poop Cafe is undoubtedly unique, Nguyen is joining the “(bowel) movement” fairly late. Modern Toilet, her inspiration for the cafe, has been around since 2004, and the Crazy Toilet Cafe in Moscow and Ddong Cafe in Seoul are only two of several crappy cafes throughout the world. 

A similar U.S. establishment, the Magic Restroom Cafe in Los Angeles, went down the toilet after less than a year in business.

If you can’t make it to a poop-themed eatery, worry not. There are plenty of ways to bring poop into your own kitchen.

Source: The Star / Photo credit: Entertainment Designer

Tags: cafe, dessert, Poop, toilet, toronto
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Put Down the Burger: Study Finds That 100 Percent Of U.S. Beef Contains Bacteria From Fecal Matter

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By Cooking Panda

Based on the results of a recent study, you might want to think twice before ordering your next burger medium-rare.

Researchers for Consumer Reports just released the findings of an experiment in which they analyzed 458 pounds of beef, and their conclusions were shocking. Of the 458 pounds of beef tested, 1 percent contained salmonella, nearly 20 percent was contaminated with poisonous C. perfringens, and 100 percent “contained bacteria that signified fecal contamination.”

That’s right. All 458 pounds of beef were contaminated with fecal matter.

According to government statistics, there are 48 million cases of foodborne illness in the United States every year. While many people are able to recover from food poisoning, the most vulnerable members of society also incur the highest risk when it comes to foodborne illness. Based on CDC data, pregnant women and the elderly have the highest chance of severe medical consequences following an incident of food poisoning, but the results aren’t exactly pretty for the rest of us either.

However, if you’re like most Americans, you’re probably not ready to give up beef anytime soon. So, without going cold turkey on tacos and burgers, how can you reduce your risk of foodborne illness?

The first thing you can do is buy better beef. Beef from cows raised using organic, antibiotic-free and grass-fed farming practices contains fewer, less dangerous bacteria. While the study found that 18 percent of conventionally raised beef contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria, only 9 percent of sustainably produced beef poses the same risk. 

In the words of Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., director of the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group for Consumer Reports, “When you consider meat as a whole, when you choose sustainably-raised beef, there’s less of a chance you’ll come into contact with drug-resistant bacteria, which has implications for you personally and for public health.”

The next step you can take to reduce your chance of food poisoning is to order steak rather than ground beef. Jonathan Campbell, Ph.D., a meat extension specialist at Penn State University, explains the reasoning behind this decision by comparing bacteria to pepper.

Campbell describes the safety differences between ground beef and steak, saying: “If you pepper the outside of a steak and sear it on the grill, you’ll kill the bacteria. If you grind that meat, you’ll mix the pepper throughout all of the meat.” 

That’s a nice picture for you to keep in mind next time you decide to order a burger.

Both steak and high-quality ground beef can be expensive, however. If you’re looking for a cheaper way to reduce your risk of foodborne illness, look no further than your cooking choices.

Hannah Gould, Ph.D., an epidemiologist for the CDC, says, “Up to 28 percent of Americans eat ground beef that’s raw or undercooked,” but cooking beef to 160 degrees F can kill foodborne pathogens.  She suggests using a meat thermometer while cooking at home, and ordering beef cooked to at least medium in restaurants.

If you can get past the idea that your favorite burger probably contains fecal matter, making smart choices while ordering and eating beef can reduce your chances of getting food poisoning and make all the difference in the long run.

Source: New York Post, Consumer Reports / Photo credit: eBlogfa.com

Tags: Beef, burgers, Fecal Matter, Ground Beef, Poop
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