Drinks from soda foundation machines in restaurants and fast food establishments might harbor fecal bacteria, according to a study.
Reported by ABCNews.com, in the study, experts found that nearly half the beverages coming out of the machines were contaminated with coliform bacteria. Such bacteria indicate possible fecal contamination.
The small study sampled 30 soda machines in Roanoke Valley in Virginia, reports The New York Daily News.
"We can't have that in our drinking supply," said Renee D. Godard, Hollins University biology professor and co-author of the paper, published in the January print issue of the International Journal of Food Microbiology. "But they're coming out of these soda fountain machines."
The Coca-Cola Company said, in a statement to ABCNews.com, that it was not aware of any illnesses related to its fountain-dispensed beverages, and that it "has been serving fountain beverages for more than 120 years."