Updated: Tuesday, 20 Nov 2012, 6:23 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 20 Nov 2012, 5:01 PM EST
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A new Gallup poll on Soda shows Americans drink more soda pop today then ever before.
In fact, on average, nearly 45 gallons of carbonated soft drinks are consumed per person , per year.
Is that supersized appetite for soda a recipe for disease?
We are not talking about diabetes or weight issues; we are talking good old fashioned germs and bacteria!
You wouldn’t drink out of a toilet. But if you’re drinking from certain soda nozzles, you might as well be.
That’s right, some gas stations’ and restaurants’ soda machines are serving up disgusting drinks.
We started our experiment with 10 sterile swabs and an undercover camera.
I bought fountain drinks from five Terre Haute gas stations, and five local fast food joints.
As I filled my cup, I secretly swabbed the inside and outside of the fountain nozzles , looking for bacteria that can fester inside the dark, damp valves.
We then took our samples to the lab at Terre Haute Regional Hospital.
Microbiology Technical Coordinator Mary McDonald swiped the findings on Auger plates to allow bacteria to cultivate and grow, if any.
We put them in an incubator for 48 hours, and then got our results.
Results that left Mary and other lab workers shocked!
“I was surprised. I was very surprised,” Mary said. “Four out of the ten, you had fecal contamination.”
Four out of the ten soda machines we tested—40 percent—were squirting out liquids contaminated with fecal bacteria and e-coli.
We’re not going to tell you the names of those restaurants and gas stations, and there’s no solid reason as to why some of the fountains can be full of filth, we’re just reporting the results.
Clearly, the soda spouts aren’t being disinfected daily. When what should be a mandatory daily cleaning routine is neglected, some health experts believe bacteria can build up in the machine’s plastic tubing.
The bottom line, no put intended, is that in some cases, you’re drinking the same bacteria found in human feces.
“In some cultures,” said McDonald, referring to the samples we brought in, “it was such a great amount. It grew the very first day. And if it’s on the top and you take a drink, before you put your lid on, you’ve got a good amount of concentration on it.”
As gross as the contamination sounds, Mary says it wouldn’t make most people too sick, but it could provide you a slight case of food poisoning.
“They can get diarrhea from that, then upset stomach, then get dehydrated, and that’s where it escalates,” Mary said.
So, the next time someone asks, what are you drinking? We may have given you some gross new reasons to skip the soda.
We said we wouldn’t tell you the names of the places involved in our test, but we did call the managers at the four worst locations and told them what we did, and how unclean their machines are.
We told them, for the health and safety of all of their customers, to clean their machines!
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