President Donald Trump is famously quoted calling McDonald’s the epitome of cleanliness, so much so that he preferred it to what White House chefs would cook for him. He relied on it when he thought his life was in danger with people trying to poison him, and he has a cheeseburger or two in the evening in bed when he has nothing to do. Not only does he love McDonald’s, but he’s a big fan of KFC and Mexicans (well, Mexican food). What a guy.
As it turns out, Trump’s sentiment may actually be right. While his opinion on fast-food establishments doesn’t quite excuse his absurd dietary habits, a new study revealed that fast food joints might actually be a cleaner alternative to traditional American restaurants: one way that fast food is better than five-star restaurants. At least one.
Foodservice supply company Restaurantware conducted a test where they sampled three fast food establishments, three nicer restaurants, and three home kitchens. Then, they revealed the counts of bacteria colonies for each eatery. The dirtiest of the bunch were the kitchens, but I guess that doesn’t really count. They are home kitchens, after all.
As it turns out, there are over 15 areas in your kitchen that are likely dirtier than a toilet (home or otherwise isn’t accounted for). What was more alarming was the comparatively huge amount of bacteria at the Italian, steakhouse and sushi restaurants (the nicer restaurants) had over 62 times the amount of bacteria as the fast food burger joint – and the food probably wasn’t much healthier either.
The cleanest of them all was the chicken restaurant – something like a KFC or a Chick-fil-A. Though you’d think all the raw chicken being thrown around would spread some salmonella, it seems these restaurants keep their food-borne bacteria under wraps.
Restaurantware explained: “It’s easy to assume that a fast food restaurant would have the worst hygiene of the bunch but their strict daily cleanup schedule, rigorous corporate standards, and regular inspections ensure that their equipment is kept clean and their restaurants are germ-free.”
Your typical sushi restaurant, on the other hand, isn’t so careful with their cutlery. Restaurantware says, “more expensive restaurants have to abide by the same exacting regulations, but also have to contend with washing dishes and removing those germs, a step fast food restaurants avoid by utilizing disposable utensils.”
When bacteria were found in fast food restaurants, they were mostly contained to the bathrooms. So just don’t eat your foods near the toilets and you’re in the clear. Oh, and wash your hands, you animal.
Restaurants, as it turns out, had bacteria near the kitchen and even the tables. The next time you’re dining out, try your best to avoid touching the toilet, the bathroom floor, the menu, doorknobs, salt, pepper and ketchup bottles and any ice or lemon wedges provided. Worst comes to worst, you could always order in and eat it at home. It may be the dirtiest place to eat, but at least it’s yours, right?