McDonald’s customers could be picking up more than just their meals if they use touchscreens to place their orders.
According to a recent study, researchers found fecal matter on every touchscreen they tested at eight different McDonald’s restaurants. The amount of fecal matter found on each screen was “enough to put people in the hospital,” according to Metro.
Researchers swabbed the screens at various McDonald’s restaurants in both Birmingham, England and London, England, some of which included newer touchscreens that had just been installed. The study indicated that numerous customers placed their orders using the touchscreens, then ate their meals without washing their hands after touching the screens.
“We were all surprised how much gut and faecal bacteria there was on the touchscreen machines. These cause the kind of infections that people pick up in hospitals,” Dr. Paul Matewele of London Metropolitan University said.
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NBC 25 reports that one of the touchscreens “tested positive for staphylococcus,” a group of contagious bacteria that can cause people to develop skin infections, toxic shock syndrome, as well as blood poisoning.
“Seeing Staphylococcus on these machines is worrying because it is so contagious,” Dr. Matewale said.
Further, listeria bacteria was found on touchscreens in one of the restaurants. Listeria bacteria, also contagious, can cause women to have miscarriages and stillbirth, according to Matewale.
When Metro reached out to McDonald’s for comment, a spokesperson for the restaurant insisted that the touchscreens are cleaned and sanitized numerous times daily.
“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.”
Matewale said that although the restaurants may ensure that the touchscreens are cleaned frequently, the type of cleaner used “could not have been strong enough.”
Meanwhile, Matevale encourages anyone who orders food via a touchscreen to wash their hands thoroughly before eating their meals.
‘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.”
[Feature Photo: Pixabay]