Study: Nearly Half of Soda Fountains Contaminated with Bacteria

soda fountain

[Photograph: Zach Klein]

According to the International Journal of Microbiology, biologists in Roanoke, Virginia, analyzed 30 different soda fountains (20 self-serve and 10 staff-dispensed) for microbial contaminants and found that nearly half of them contained coliform bacteria — with 11 percent containing E. coli and 17 percent C. meningosepticum. What's even scarier is that:

Most of the identified bacteria showed resistance to one or more of the 11 antibiotics tested. These findings suggest that soda fountain machines may harbor persistent communities of potentially pathogenic microorganisms which may contribute to episodic gastric distress in the general population and could pose a more significant health risk to immunocompromised individuals.

Yowza. I think I have even more reason to smuggle in a bottle of cola next time I go to the movies. [via Smithsonian Food & Think]