Social Question

SmashTheState's avatar

Would you want to be able to see poop smears?

Asked by SmashTheState (9603 points ) February 9th, 2011

I read a newspaper article some years ago in which the newspaper went to eateries around the city, ranging from greasy spoons to hoity-toity Michelin-listed restaurants, and swabbed a whole bunch of surfaces, which they then sent to a lab to have tested for the presence of fecal matter.

The results were not pretty.

Not a single restaurant was poop-free. There was poop on the silverware and poop on the tables. Poop on the plates and poop on the doorknobs. Every conceivable surface was coated with poop.

If it was possible for you to be able to see otherwise invisible fecal contamination, would you want to? You’d be able to avoid using poop-smeared cutlery, but I imagine every restaurant would look like the toilet stalls at Grand Central Station.

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26 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

Nope. There are things I know and just accept and realize that they ain’t done me harm so far – ignorance is bliss.

So what if my cell phone and my keyboard are dirtier than a public toilet seat (according to statistics). If I can’t see it, it won’t hurt me.

until it does.

sarahjane90's avatar

Definitely not! I’ve made it this long without knowing…. no reason to learn now!

chyna's avatar

Out of sight, out of mind. A peanut M&M dropped on the floor is blown off and popped into my mouth if it’s within the 5 second rule. We all know that doesn’t really work, but I don’t dwell on it.

Supacase's avatar

No way.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Fortunately our white blood cells can handle most of the crap we throw at them.

WasCy's avatar

“Poop”? Really? For adults – “poop”?

I suspect that they were testing for E. coli, the “active ingredient” in fecal matter. And it’s everywhere. It’s on your toothbrush, by the way, and on everything in your bathroom (kitchen, too), even after it’s been cleaned. I suspect (but I don’t have the data), that it’s also present (in non-harmful amounts) in surgical instruments soon after being broken out of sterile packaging. (For all I know, it might even be – and probably is – present inside the sterile packaging.)

Would I like to be able to see anything I chose with microscopic precision? You bet. Would it bother me? Only if I couldn’t turn it off – it’d be hell to try to drive that way.

breedmitch's avatar

I’d like to see the source of your claim please. What article from “some years ago”? And I’m with the above poster. I’m betting they were testing for e.coli, but saying “poop” sounds dirtier. Way to stir the pot.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah..who cares? We wouldn’t have survived as a species for all these millions of years if a little bit of “poop” was going to kill us off!

erichw1504's avatar

Great, thanks for informing me about this, now I won’t be able to eat out ever again. :/

@worriedguy Haha, nice pun.

wundayatta's avatar

Very nicely done, @worriedguy. GA!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

They should do this for food, especially meat.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I have never seen a poop smear in a toilet stall at Grand Central Station, but then I only frequent the Ladies’. What do you guys do in there???

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Well, that would certainly turn the most paranoid into total vegetarians because you just won’t find any piece of meat, anywhere, ever, that would stand up to microscopic inspection, even if it was soaked in hand sanitizer for a day. So, yeah. Maybe they should. Save a cow!

@JilltheTooth He’s talking about the feces migrating into the eating and prep sections of the restaurant. How using an electron scanning microscope will show some of the grossest stuff.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Dutchess_III : I knew what he meant, I just forgot the tilde, and I haven’t figured out how to do a tongue-in-cheek emoticon. I also find the Q to be rather silly.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wonder what they do in there too, @JilltheTooth! This one ; ) is pretty good…to me it looks like one eye winking…

JilltheTooth's avatar

The wink didn’t seem to have enough power for a poop thread…

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! I love the way some folks will blow stuff so out of proportion. This question makes it sound like people are wiping their butts with their hands, and then coming out and smearing it all over the place! PUL-EASE!

MissAusten's avatar

@Dutchess_III Wait….are you saying people shouldn’t do that? Note to self…

When I was in college, I took a semester of bacteriology. For one of our labs, we had to test meats from local supermarkets for e. coli. The results were disgusting, and a lot of people stopped eating meat. Then, we had to do throat cultures of our lab partners. Again, lots of e. coli which totally freaked a bunch of people out and gave our professor plenty of fodder for nasty jokes. He was such a character! At the end of the semester he informed us that our lab conditions were so far below ideal which, combined with our lack of experience, meant that every single culture we’d been freaked out by hadn’t been accurate but that it was a lot of fun to see how dramatic we all were.

That was such a fun class.

Anyway, there are a lot of strains of e. coli and most of them are harmless. Also from that source: E. coli presence may not be indicative of human waste. E. coli are harboured in all warm-blooded animals: birds and mammals alike.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@wundayatta, @erichw1504: Thanks. I couldn’t resist the urge.

Mana's avatar

Would I want the power to do that? No thanks.

SmashTheState's avatar

@breedmitch I just had a look for it with Google and wasn’t successful. Maybe you can find it. It was about 12–15 years ago in Vancouver, and I remember that it was a joint project between a local newspaper and a local television station.

@Dutchess_III According to the experts interviewed for the articles, poop transfers very easily from unwashed hands. All it takes is one worker wiping his ass and then touching, say, a counter or a spatula, and then the next person picks it up on hir hands, transferring it to still other surfaces. A single person with unwashed hands can contaminate an entire restaurant very easily this way, from hand to counter to waiter to plate to silverware to doorknob to washcloth to tabletop to hand to menu etc.

breedmitch's avatar

No. I’m not going to do your homework for you. If you want to rattle the cage then you have to back it up yourself. As of now I’m going with “un proven”.

ratboy's avatar

I’ve long suspected everyone I ever met of being a filthy shit eater.

cockswain's avatar

I think I would want to be able to see the poop, only so that I can summon that manager, have the poop cleaned and get my meal for free.

Poop discounts.

augustlan's avatar

I’ve seen similar studies of home kitchens and bathrooms. We all know it’s everywhere, but I don’t want to see it. The best defense, as always, is to wash your own hands before you touch anything you’re going to put in your mouth.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SmashTheState You know, that’s why they invented toilet paper, you know. It’s not that hard to keep it off of your hands. At any rate, don’t care. Not worried about it. Plenty of stuff is super gross, especially under an electron microscope.

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