You Should Never Get A Slushie At The Gas Station. Here's Why

They say ignorance is bliss, and after reading this you might wish you could return to your pre-enlightened state. But the next time you are filling up the tank with gas at your local convenience store and think you could really go for a slushie – you know, the ones that taste like their colors and turn your tongue different shades of blue, purple, and green – just don't. Skip the impending brain freeze and get back into your car – after you pay, of course – and proceed to your intended destination. If you choose not to go with this advice, there's some information you need to know – not want, but definitely need.

We are with you. Slushies are awesome. They are everything good about childhood wrapped up in an icy, watery, and sugary-flavored syrup that makes our hearts skip a beat. But if you drink one from a gas station, it's not your heart that you should be worried about. Per a story in the York Daily Record, a local Pennsylvania news outlet, it's the slime, mold, and mildew lurking in slushie machines that could cause some serious health issues. In fact, when you learn what these pathogens can do to you, you may never be able to look at, let alone drink, your favorite flavored slushie ever again.

We're talking 'run to the toilet' issues

According to York Daily Record, convenience stores get written up by health inspectors all the time for white mildew, black residue, pink slime, or greenish mold growing in ice machines and slushie machine nozzles. Unfortunately, they happen naturally, and if this stuff is in the machine, it can make its way into your slushie. When these contaminants are not cleaned up, there can be some gross consequences that include Norovirus, Legionella, Salmonella, and E. coli contamination, all of which can send you to the bathroom or – even worse – the hospital. 

Delish quotes a self-described former gas station employee using the handle Smalls244, who sounded off with a warning: "Don't get a slushie. Mold grows around all of the gadgets in there. We only cleaned it every few weeks." While we have no way of verifying that claim, the company Frozen Beverage Dispensers, which supplies a wide swath of convenience stores and restaurants with their frozen dispensers, notes on its website that these machines are designed to run an entire year without having a single cleaning. Just yuck. That's four times less than what is recommended for you to clean your home refrigerator (via Molly Maid), and fewer people are probably interacting with it. So the next time you think that a gas station slushie is worth a walk down memory lane, you might want to think again.