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Food Court Trays Have As Much Bacteria As Gas Station Toilet

Tray no cleaner than gas station toilet?

First we find out about shopping carts with fecal bacateria, now more thrilling bacteria-related news.

Turns out, maybe the food court isn’t the best place to stop for lunch with your kids after a long day of shopping at the mall.  So, before you dump that container of fries on your child’s tray, you may want to read on.

A CBC investigation took samples from those plastic trays at mall food courts and the results will turn your stomach.

A reporter took swaps from food trays from three different mall food courts and then took a swab from a gas station toilet. A microbiology professor at the University of British Columbia did the test.

“We saw as many bacteria on some food trays as we saw on a toilet,” said University of British Columbia microbiologist Dr. Bob Hancock.

“One in particular was quite notable because there was a fairly large number of a bacteria called acinetobacter,” Dr. Hancock said. “And acinetobacter is one of the superbugs in our society that’s causing major problems for individuals with burns throughout the world because it’s so resistant to anti-biotics.”

The general manager of the food court told the reporter, from news station WOAI in Canada that they disinfect the trays every night and wipe them between every use. Uh, okay. Now that I know you wipe them between use, probably with the same dirty rag you use to clean tables, I feel SO much better.

Hancock says the amount of bacteria is significant but was unlikely to cause illness in someone with a healthy immune system.

Little consolation, now that I know I’ve inhaled a tray of fries with my daughter that I may as well have eaten off the local gas station toilet.

Photo: flickr.com/timkiser

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