Customers who order McDonald's food using a touchscreen may have ingested fecal matter according to a new study that found fecal bacteria on every McDonald's touchscreen tested.
The study’s findings means that anyone who used the touchscreen to order their food may have picked up fecal matter.
"We were all surprised how much gut and fecal bacteria there was on the touchscreen machines," said Dr. Paul Matewele, a senior lecturer in microbiology at London Metropolitan University. He added that the bacteria was the kind seen on hospital wards.
Traces of listeria bacteria were found in two London locations, while staphylococcus bacteria was found on a touchscreen at one McDonald’s location. Klebsiella bacteria, which can cause urinary tract infections, was also found on several screens.
"These cause the kind of infections that people pick up in hospitals," said Dr. Matewele.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, listeria is a serious infection that is deadly to people with weak immune systems.
Staph bacteria already resides on our skin and is usually harmless. But it can be deadly if it enters the body through a wound and spreads rapidly.
"Staph infections can turn deadly if the bacteria invade deeper into your body, entering your bloodstream," according to the Mayo Clinic.
A McDonald's representative tells PEOPLE in a statement that "McDonald's assures its customers that regular daily cleaning our our self-order kiosks is policy in all U.S. locations.
"Our kiosks are cleaned using disinfectant cleaner with a microfiber cloth," he added.
McDonald’s plans to install self-service kiosks in 1,000 stores every quarter for the next two years, according to PEOPLE.
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