Jan 10, 2010 11:53 AM by Jamie Smith
The next time you use a fountain soda machine, you may get more than you bargained for.
A study of soda taken from thirty fountain machines in Roanoke, Virginia found nearly half of all beverages had coliform bacteria, a group of bacteria indicative of fecal contamination.
Only 20% of the samples had higher than recommended levels of the bacteria, but experts say it could still be enough to cause an upset stomach. They tested the water and ice used in the machines and did not find bacteria.
Experts suspect the plastic tubing inside the machines may be to blame -- they say it takes just one dirty hand to infect a nozzle, and the bacteria can spread throughout the soda fountain.
Restaurant owners are encouraged to flush the tubes once a month. Microbiologists say they are not surprised with the results, they say fecal matter contamination is more common than we think.