Probe: Mall food trays dirty as toilets

Feb. 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Plastic trays used at shopping mall food courts are as dirty as a gas station toilet seat, an investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. found.

The CBC took swab samples from trays in three Vancouver-area malls and had them analyzed by the University of British Columbia.

"We saw as many bacteria on some food trays as we saw on a (gas station) toilet," university microbiologist Bob Hancock told the broadcaster.

He said it was troubling that two of the trays were contaminated with "a fairly large number" of acinetobacter bacteria, which causes gastrointestinal illness and is highly resistant to antibiotics, the CBC said.

"Acinetobacter is one of the superbugs in our society that's causing major problems in individuals throughout the world," Hancock said.

The news network said various officials at the malls insisted the trays were routinely wiped and disinfected, and were never meant to come into direct contact with food.

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