President Donald Trump is famously quoted calling McDonald’s the epitome of “cleanliness,” and it turns out that he might be right. While it hardly excuses his absurd dietary habits, a new study revealed that fast food joints might be a cleaner alternative to traditional American restaurants.
Food service supply company Restaurantware 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 we knew that. There are over 15 areas in your kitchen that are likely dirtier than a toilet seat.
What was more alarming was the comparatively huge amount of bacteria at the Italian, steakhouse, and sushi restaurants. The Italian restaurant 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 serious salmonella, it seems these restaurants keep their food-borne bacteria under wraps.
“It’s easy to assume that a fast food restaurant would have the worst hygiene of the bunch,” Restaurantware explained, “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. “More expensive restaurants have to abide by the same exacting regulations, but also have to contend with washing dishes and removing those germs,” the company noted, “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 food near the toilets and you’re in the clear.
Restaurants, however, had bacteria near the kitchen and even the tables. Next time you’re dining out, make sure you avoid these dirtiest places at every restaurant.