McDonald’s Self-Service Screens Contain an Unsavory “Ingredient”

McDonald’s Self-Service Screens Contain an Unsavory “Ingredient”
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Have you ever used a touchscreen at McDonald’s to order your food? You’re reading an article on Natural Society, so of course not! But if you have, this bit of news may interest you. That touchscreen you ordered from probably has some poop on it, at least according to a recent investigation by MetroEvery single self-service kiosk the news outlet tested was found to be contaminated with some feces.

Perhaps you should start carrying some alcohol hand-sanitizer, eh?

The news site asked researchers at London Metropolitan University to test the touchscreens at 8 McDonald’s restaurants around the U.K., including 6 in London and 2 in Birmingham. Yeah, the tests were done in London, but that doesn’t take away from the possibility touchscreens are equally contaminated here in the U.S.

  • Each kiosk screen contained coliforms, the bacteria found in feces.
  • One screen was found to contain staphylococcus, a bacteria that can cause blood poisoning and toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
  • The same screen containing staphylococcus also harbored Listeria bacteria, which can cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.
Natural Society
Petri dishes of bacteria found in various McDonald’s in London and Birmingham (Picture: Susannah Ireland for

You might want to think twice about licking that French fry grease off of your fingers.

Related Read: Could Your Dirty Shower Head Really Cause Lung Infections?

Dr. Paul Matawele, a senior lecturer in microbiology at London Metropolitan University, 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.”

Matawele and his colleagues were especially troubled to discover the presence of staph on the touchscreens. [2]

Matawele said:

“Seeing staphylococcus on these machines is worrying because it is so contagious. 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.”

He said his team was also shocked to find Listeria, which he called “another rare bacterium,” lingering on the screens.

Natural Society
McDonald’s, Oxford Street, near Tottenham Court Road station (Picture: Susannah Ireland for

But Dr. Philip Tierno, a clinical professor of Microbiology and Pathology at NYU School of Medicine, who wasn’t involved in the research, said he was not at all surprised by the findings. [1]

Read: New “Nightmare” Bacteria has Been Popping up Around the U.S.

“We are bathed, as a society, in human feces. Wherever numerous people touch the same surface over time, they deposit their germ passport, which can include bacteria from 3 body places – respiratory, skin, and fecal sources.”

He added:

“This (Metro) report shows that people do not properly pay attention to hand hygiene – especially hand washing. Eighty percent of all infectious diseases are transmitted by direct and indirect contact. Direct like coughing, sneezing, talking, kissing someone; and indirect like touching a dirty fomite (doorknob, phone, computer, elevator button, touchscreen, etc.) and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth or a break in the skin.”

For its part, McDonald’s says that its touchscreens are cleaned frequently throughout the day and that all of their restaurants “provide facilities for customers to wash their hands before eating.” But how many times have you been in a public restroom that lacked hand soap? [2]

Even if you don’t lay a finger on a McDonald’s touchscreen, there’s a good chance you’re still coming into contact with some potentially dangerous bugs, simply because they are all around you. Staph and E. coli have been found in large quantities on phones, keyboards, and tablets. In fact, your smartphone is likely germier than a toilet seat. [3]

Bon appetit.

Natural Society


[1] MarketWatch

[2] Newsweek

[3] Business Insider