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Food Safety Issues/Food poisoning from gas station slushie machine


My 8 year old daughter and I stopped in Kentucky
For a slushie at a gas station.
She had a sip and said it tasted horrible.
I tried it and it tasted horrible also.
It smelled like dirt or mold and tasted like dirt also.
Do you think it was a slushie machine that used contaminated
Ice or water or maybe well water?
Maybe the machine itself had moldy tubes or the inside of the slushie
Machine has not been washed out?
We felt nauseous for a bit.

Hi Marie,

Chances are that the machine may not have been cleaned properly and what you tasted was mold.  Soda nozzles, slushie nozzles, coffee spigets, etc are all supposed to be cleaned every day but if this is not occuring then mold can form.

It was good that you noticed the off taste and did not continue to consume the product.  While consuming a small amount of mold normally does not cause any issues, some people are especially sensitive and can experience nausea and vomiting.

When I was a 3rd party food inspector I use to test the nozzles for mold by rolling up a napkin into a thin probe and then sticking it up into the nozzle.  If any black came off on the white napkin this is an indication that it was not being cleaned properly. Fortunately, most nozzles I tested were clean but occasionally I did find some with mold.


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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