So is this just a Virginia thing, or is there poop in all soda machines?
In answer specifically to the question in the title: No.
And if it’s Pepsi Max: Hell no!
Well thank you for another reason to stop drinking soda altogether (my weakness is soda while eating out). How disgusting.
Didn’t Mythbusters prove that there’s coliform bacteria in basically everything?
Even knowing that yes, there’s practically poop everywhere, I still won’t be able to drink a fountain soda again without getting the willies.
I wonder if it’s all fountain drinks or just the carbonated type. 'Cuz if this is also true of the lemonade that most places serve, then that could explain the taste.
As a person who manages a fast food restaurant and has had extensive training on food safety, here’s my input.
Soda fountain taps are constantly wet, dark, and are usually at or around room temperature. These factors make the taps, as well as the plastic nozzles and diffusers attached to them, prime breeding grounds for bacteria and mold. In a restaurant with a well-executed food safety program, these nozzles should be taken apart and cleaned with an anti-bacterial sanitizer at LEAST once a day, if not more often, to prevent these conditions from developing.
Taps that dispense non-carbonated beverages, such as lemonade or iced tea, tend to get dirty considerably FASTER than those dispensing carbonated drinks. I suspect this may be because the noncarbonated drinks contain more sugar, though i’m not certain.
In my experience, if this is neglected, those dispensers tend to accumulate mold and dirt pretty quickly. The presence of coliform bacteria wouldn’t surprise me - coliform is pretty much endemic to everything that humans handle on a regular basis, and it multiplies rapidly given the sort of ideal conditions described above.
Also, in my experience, you wouldn’t be able to tell by taste whether a particular tap is dirty or not, unless it had become mold-encrusted to the point that chunks of it were actually coming off into the beverage (and yes i’ve seen this happen in a restaurant I visited once.) The only surefire way to tell if a tap is clean is to physically remove the nozzle and diffuser from the tap, examine them visually, and wipe the underside of the tap itself with a damp cloth to see if any black residue comes off. (Note that attempting this as a customer will probably not get you in the good graces of the restaurant staff.)
I’m not that worried about coliform bacteria. I’m worried about the particular strains that promote tooth decay, in my sugary & already highly acidic Pepsi.
There’s probably more of that bacteria on the average home’s kitchen counters and toothbrushes than in the soda machines.
We’ve been talking about fungus and slime mold in soda dispensers over here…
Is that a new name for diarrhea now?
I wonder if the phrase, “that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” applies here?
“Get the willies” is a term for that involuntary shudder which passes through your whole body when you encounter something truly disgusting.
ETA: Or (now noticing the smily) have I just been whooshed??
Newsflash: the world is basically covered with bacteria. Deal with it.
Additional: news shows love stories like this because they sound terrifying. Film at eleven, when we’ll tell you how to protect YOUR loved ones from CERTAIN DEATH.
I’m sorry but after reading the OP, I can’t help but have an incredibly disgusting image of someone putting the soda fountain nozzle up their, well, prime area for making fecal bacteria.
Thanks a lot OP, all the brain bleach in the world ain’t getting rid of that one easily …
Make mine a Fecal Matter Throwback, please.
Don’t forget those ice macines-many go for years without cleaning-some were found to harbor more bacteria than a toilet bowl!
There’s a lady where I work who absolutely refuses to use the coffee and pop vending machines at work that dispense liquid into a cup (the ones that dispense bottles/cans are OK). Before she came to our company, she worked in fast food, where they were required to take apart the soda fountain and sanitize the spigots after closing every day, and, according to her, they were always disgusting even after only one day. Well, there is no way those vending machines are cleaned every day. Sure, there’s a guy who comes in every few days and restocks things, but he’s probably not cleaning it every time. I looked at the coffee machine once, and it doesn’t look very clean at all.
I guess if they really were that bad, people would be getting sick, but it does make you think. Anyone who leaves the restroom without washing his/her hands should definitely be shunned :).
It just occured to me reading some of these posts that if we become too bothered about the cleanliness of the things we use, we risk insulating ourselves from dirt and bacteria and therefore don’t develop defences to them. We have amazing immune systems that have evolved to cope very well in a world that contains bacteria.