Researcher: McDonald’s menus touchscreens are gross and dangerous

Nam Y. Huh | AP file

As we’ve noted before, we are not big fans of the touch screens that have sprouted up at the renovated McDonald’s. We like human contact and, besides, it takes much longer to order through the technology than to simply walk to the counter.

But now some research in the UK has confirmed the wisdom of our disdain.

A senior lecturer in microbiology at London Metropolitan University tested screens at eight McDonald’s there — six stores in London and two in Birmingham — and found most of them had the bacterium proteus, which comes from human and animal feces.

Dr. Paul Matawele also found listerium and staphylococcus, which is particularly worrying because it’s dangerous and very contagious.

“Touchscreen technology is being used more and more in our daily lives but these results show people should not eat food straight after touching them, they are unhygienic and can spread disease,” he tells Metro.UK. “Someone can be very careful about their own hygiene throughout the day but it could all be undone by using a touchscreen machine once.”

It goes without saying that maybe this was an anomaly. After all, there are 1,300 McDonald’s in the UK. Or maybe it’s just a UK thing and people in the U.S. aren’t as gross. Maybe not.

And considering all the touchscreens we use during the course of a day from gas pumps to ATMs, it’s probably not just what’s for lunch.

McDonald’s wasn’t buying it.

“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,” the companty said in a statement.

It only takes one.