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Dangerous Germs Found In Dozens Of Fast Food Play Areas

First Posted: 09/19/11 02:04 PM ET Updated: 11/19/11 05:12 AM ET

Turns out there's another reason to steer clear of fast food restaurants. It's not just their fried food that's unhealthy; play areas on offer at the chains are dangerous too.

Erin Carr-Jordan, a child psychologist and mom of four, has been investigating play areas in fast food restaurants throughout eleven different states. Her findings could make anyone want to throw out the rest of their french fries. She told "The Early Show" this morning:

"We found dirt and grime and rotting food and hair in clumps and swear words all over the place. Graffiti. Equipment in disrepair that is broken. Second-story windows that are busted out. Slides that have large gashes in them. You name it -- if it's a thing you don't want your child being exposed to, we found it inside these play lands."

After the restaurants failed to make changes, Carr-Jordan reached out to a friend who specializes in microbiology and immunology to swab and test specimen from inside the play lands. The results were not only disturbing, but could actually make kids sick.

"We found several strands of opportunistic pathogens, in other words, things that can cause infection or disease. We found stuff that causes meningitis, food-borne illness, skin, hair, eye infections ... fecal contamination, coliforms, quite a few things can make children ill, and several of which are multi-drug resistant and potentially fatal."

McDonald's did issue a statement assuring that they take the concerns seriously, but Carr-Jordan isn't buying it. She says the statement, which is not an actual response, has not lead to corrective changes or new policies. Their current practices are unclear, she says.


"Without their policy being translucent, we're not even sure what the policy actually is. I know it doesn't have any specific items related to disinfecting, and just to say you spot clean isn't enough, because it doesn't identify what that actually means."

Until the restaurants make an effort to fix the problem, Carr-Jordan warn parents to be aware of the problem.

For more information about Carr-Jordan's cause, go to KidsPlaySafe on Facebook.

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Filed by Jessica Samakow  |