10 Unexpected Places Human Poop Has Been Found
There’s only really one place outside of your body that you ever want to be aware of human poop — the toilet, right before it flushes away, disappears from view and leaves you forever. But occasionally, wily stuff that it is, it’ll crop up (crap up?) in all kinds of unexpected places where it just isn’t welcome. It’s a shitty state of affairs, it really is. Because we’re talking about places like…
In 2018, analysis of touchscreens in eight U.K. McDonald’s locations found human shit on all of them. As microbiologist Paul Matewele told the Metro newspaper, “We were all surprised how much gut and fecal bacteria there was on the touchscreen machines. These cause the kind of infections that people pick up in hospitals.” The testers didn’t go as far as finding out the origins of the shit, but the assumption is that it came from people not washing their hands after wiping. Proof that you shouldn’t wipe? No, probably not really.
Knockoff makeup is a massive industry — get some generic cosmetics, slap them in the packaging of much fancier brands and sell them for a fortune. Or, go even cheaper and make your own stuff from human shit. That’s the approach that seems to have been taken by some entrepreneurs — a bust in L.A. in 2018 yielded $700,000 worth of knocked-off Urban Decay and Kylie Cosmetics makeup with, uh, dumps in it.
On Your Phone
Turns out the i in iPhone is short for “intestinal contents.” Around one in six smartphones has human waste on it, thanks again to people not washing their hands after dropping the kids off at the pool. According to one survey, 88 percent of people use their phone on the toilet (and so do the other 12 percent, obviously, they just lie about it), and 41 percent have been known to put their phones in their mouths when their hands were full. We’re horrible. We’re all horrible. Everyone’s cheerfully eating their own shit off a high-tech spoon.
The U.K. fast-food industry needs a deep clean: In 2017, British branches of McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King all turned out to have traces of human fecal matter in the ice used in their drinks. So, as the ice melts, your drink doesn’t only become diluted, warmer and less delicious, it also gets poop in it. Not so much finger lickin’ good as Fanta shittin’, dude. A KFC spokesman told the BBC, “We are shocked and extremely disappointed by these results.” Which, yeah.
Sexy Las Vegas Pools
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Also, sometimes, what happens in Vegas happens in a colossal basin of human shit. Analysis of the water in some of the Strip’s most popular pool bars found less sexy results that one would hope for: dumps aplenty. A Columbia University microbiologist told Inside Edition, in two rather damning sentences, “Wow, we found a lot of fecal bacteria in some of these pools,” and “It's kind of similar to swimming in a toilet.”
In 2015, the FDA released an alert that cilantro imported to the U.S. from Puebla, Mexico, was contaminated with human shit. An investigation following outbreaks of illness found human feces and used toilet paper in the fields the cilantro was harvested from, as well as inadequate toilet and handwashing facilities for the workers there. Cilantro is a divisive food in the best of times, but cilantro covered in human shit is at least something most people can agree they don’t want.
No trip to a Swedish furniture labyrinth is complete without a few rough meatballs, but in 2011 some shoppers inadvertently found themselves following it up with a dessert of human poo. Two batches of Ikea’s almond cake, the snappily-named Tarta Chokladkrokant, were found to contain trace amounts of coliform bacteria, leading to all the cakes provided by that particular Swedish supplier to be destroyed.
We place a lot of trust in hotel cleaners. People pee, poo and bang in hotel rooms every day, so it’s kind of a miracle you can ever turn up to one and not find visible traces of previous residents (a bed full of skid marks, shit stains on a towel,
etc.). As for the poo portion of that equation, according to the American Society for Microbiology, up to 81 percent of surfaces in hotel rooms are thought to be contaminated with shit. The mops and cloths that are used to clean them also have, yes, shit on them. It’s an absolute dungfest.
A rare positive one. The Paisley Caves in Oregon have always been of interest — uniquely dry conditions in them mean that there are a huge amount of ancient animal fossils in fantastically good condition. However, in 2008 a new discovery was made — DNA from a coprolite (fossilized shit) was determined to be human in origin, making it the earliest scientific evidence of human presence on the continent of North America, dating back to around 12,000 BCE. Good shit.