Photo: Kevin Pang

It’s one of those rules from childhood that hopefully has been lodged into your brain: Wash your hands before eating. (This from the mom who still consistently yells out “Wash!”, also “Soap!” before mealtimes.) Lord willing, even as you walk into a McDonald’s, say, you stop by the restroom to wash your hands before picking up your Big Mac. You probably don’t wash your hands right after walking through the door, though, which may account for the unsettling results of this recent study by Metro in the U.K.

As its headline announces, “Poo found on every McDonald’s touchscreen tested.” Metro undertook its own study, led by Dr. Paul Matewele, senior lecturer in microbiology at London Metropolitan University, which involved swabs taken from six McDonald’s in London and two in Birmingham. Dr. Matewele said, “We were all surprised how much gut and fecal bacteria there was on the touchscreen machines. These cause the kind of infections that people pick up in hospitals.” However, it’s important to note that you can find fecal bacteria in lots of places: your own kitchen, for example. As one Reddit user put it, “I bet the same is true for every single public touch screen in the world.”

McDonald’s quickly responded, “Our self-order screens are cleaned frequently throughout the day. All of our restaurants also provide facilities for customers to wash their hands before eating.”

This is an important point, and goes back to my maternal rallying cry: If you didn’t always make sure you wash your hands before eating, please make doubly certain you do now.

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