I have no desire at all to find out how these fountains were contaminated.

Jan 10, 2010

There's really no way to start off an article about this other than to lay it out up front: Soda fountains in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia were found to be contaminated with the same bacteria you find in human feces. Thirty soda machines in the area had samples taken from them for analysis and the soda from them was found to be contaminated with a few strains of e. coli, stenotrophomonas maltophilia, klebsiella pneumoniae, and other coliform microorginisms. Oh, and as if that wasn't enough to make you reconsider getting a drink the next time you go to a restaurant it was discovered that the bacteria were resistant to eleven different antibiotics tested against cultures grown by Dr. Renee Godard of Hollins University, the author of a report published this month's issue of the International Journal of Food Microbiology. The water, ice, and soda syrup itself were ruled out, which leads Dr. Godard to conclude that the machinery itself was where the bacteria were breeding. A few people had been observed touching the nozzles of the soda fountains themselves, which suggests that people were not observing basic measures of hygine before drawing soda...

Yeah. I went there, too. I think I'm going to erase the last few minutes of my short term memory buffer after I click 'Post Entry'.

The Coca-Cola Company says that there have been no reported incidents of illness contracted from contaminated soda fountains. They also state that it is the responsibility of restaurants to flush out their soda fountains and clean the taps (and rightly so). Experts consulted (who weren't named in the article, unfortunately) were quoted as saying that only people whose immune systems have been compromised have anything to worry about, and the lack of reported outbreaks of gastrointestinal diseases seems to support this statement.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go wash my hands, and then set to erasing the last few minutes...