Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Entry archive:

What has more bacteria: food court trays or gas station toilets? Add to ...

Hold it right there. Before you eat that French fry off your food tray, there’s something you should know.

A CBC investigation has discovered there are as many icky bacteria on reusable plastic trays found at mall food courts as there are on a gas station toilet seat.

CBC says swabs from food court trays at three Vancouver area malls – Pacific Centre, Park Royal and Metrotown – were brought to the University of British Columbia, where lab technicians compared them with swabs taken from a gas station toilet. The verdict: both carried similar types and amounts of bacteria, including the “superbug” acinetobacter, a particularly harmful pathogen that’s resistant to antibiotics.





All three malls responded by saying they have rigorous cleaning methods, CBC reports.

University of British Columbia microbiologist Bob Hancock, who analyzed the samples, told the broadcaster that in spite of the findings, they don’t actually pose a major issue for healthy people.

“The number of bacteria that are transferred from a tray, even if it’s in the range of hundreds of bacteria, they’re not sufficient to cause disease because we have very efficient systems in our body for getting rid of bacteria,” he said.

But even if the bacteria won’t make you sick, the idea is hardly appetizing. (As we reported last month, the money you’re handling to pay for your meal is probably pretty filthy too.)

Still going to eat that fry?

Follow on Twitter: @wencyleung

 

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories