Could I suffer health risks from eating in my car?

Food, Inc. exposed the many health dangers of the fast-food drive-thru, but a recent study has identified a new health risk: Eating in your car can mean eating disease-causing germs (via Daily Mail, Treehugger).

Why? People aren’t vigilant about keeping their cars as clean as their homes. If you’ve spilled a sugary soft drink and just left the wet carpet to dry “naturally” or left dabs of ketchup on your seat to create a tie-dye effect with all the other food stains, your car could be home to bacteria bacillus cereus and staphylococcus that can cause skin infections and food poisoning.

Get those bugs mixed into your latest drive-thru meal, and your lunch on the go could cause you some health problems later. That said, this study-conducted by scientists in research for Halfords, a car accessories retailer that promotes its vehicle cleaning products in its press release about the study-sounds more alarming than the actual findings merit. After all, it’s not as if the report was prompted by doctors who saw a large number of drive-thru fans turning up in emergency rooms with staph infections. The scientists simply found potentially dangerous bugs when they swabbed areas of a dirty car-then extrapolated that people could get sick from these bugs.

Still, the report should make you think twice about setting a burger down on the dashboard or eating that dropped fry off the floor. Better yet, maybe you’ll start avoiding the drive-thru altogether, opting for healthier lunches-hopefully enjoyed while not negotiating major intersections behind the wheel.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.