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Soda fountains contaminated with fecal bacteria

The soda that comes out of fountain machines in restaurants may be widely contaminated with fecal bacteria, according to a study conducted by researchers from Hollins University and published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

Researchers tested 30 different self-serve and behind-the-counter soda machines at a variety of restaurants in Virginia's Roanoake Valley for the presence of so-called coliform bacteria, or bacteria that are commonly found in mammal feces. They found that 70 percent of beverages sampled tested positive for some form of bacteria, and 48 percent tested positive for coliform bacteria.

"The EPA regulates our drinking supply, and there can be some bacteria, but one of the things that is not allowed is coliform bacteria," researcher Renee D. Godard said. "We can't have that in our drinking supply. But they're coming out of these soda fountain machines."

Twenty percent of beverages tested positive for levels of coliform bacteria exceeding drinking water standards.
 
 

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