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A McDonald's sign is displayed at a McDonald's restaurant in East Palo Alto, Calif., Friday, April 20, 2012. McDonald's mix of old menu standbys and new items like Chicken McBites lured in more diners, who helped boost its first-quarter profit. The world's biggest hamburger chain said Friday that its net income rose 5 percent in the first quarter, in line with Wall Street expectations. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Would you like a side of — what?? — with that? Study finds fecal bacteria on 8 McDonald's touchscreens.

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By ADAM FORGIE, KUTV

WASHINGTON (CIRCA via KUTV) — Researchers tested touchscreens at eight different McDonald's locations and found fecal bacteria on every one of them, according to findings published in Metro.

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The British paper, in conjunction with London Metropolitan University, tested six locations in London, and two in Birmingham and found enough bacterial matter to put people in the hospital.

Dr. Paul Matewele, senior lecturer in microbiology at the school, told Metro:

"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. For instance Enterococcus faecalis is part of the flora of gastrointestinal tracts of healthy humans and other mammals. It is notorious in hospitals for causing hospital acquired infections."

Yikes. Researchers noticed that most people would not wash their hands between touching the screens and picking up and eating their meals. One screen tested positive for staphylococcus, a bacteria that can cause blood poisoning and toxic shock syndrome.

"Seeing Staphylococcus on these machines is worrying because it is so contagious," Matewale said. He continued:

"It starts around people’s noses. If they touch their nose with their fingers and then transfer it to the touchscreen, someone else will get it, and if they have an open cut which it gets into, then it can be dangerous. There is a lot of worries at the moment that staphylococcus is becoming resistant to antibiotics. However, it is still really dangerous in places like Africa where it can cause toxic shock."

McDonald's responded to Metro's investigation saying:

"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."

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