Biohazard Waste in Celebrity Donuts | MedWaste Management Biohazard Waste in Celebrity Donuts | MedWaste Management

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Are Ariana Grande saliva-topped-donuts considered bio-hazardous waste?

Some bits from the news, for those of you who are busy with important things in life:
“Ariana Grande
 will not have to face legal repercussions for her recent bout of “deliberate food tampering,” as the Riverside County Sheriff’s office put it. According to a statement from the sheriff’s office, Wolfee Donuts elected not to press charges against the singer and backup dancer Ricky Alvarez after they were caught on camera licking donuts on the shop’s counter.”

“Donutgate” already caused some fallout for Grande, who has since apologized (twice), for both the donut licking and the comments she made about the donuts, which included the (presumably hyperbolic) statement “I hate America.”

Wolfee Donuts also suffered in the wake of the incident: Their health department grade went from A to B.”

(As an aside, their grade has been raised back by now.)

From a medical waste disposal perspective: Would saliva-topped donuts be considered bio-hazardous waste?

Bio-hazardous waste, also called infectious waste or biomedical waste, is any waste containing infectious materials or potentially infectious substances such as saliva, semen, or blood. In general, the term “biohazard” describes any biological material (ie, plants, animals, microorganisms, or their byproducts) that may present a potential risk to the health and well-being of humans, animals, or the environment.

There are four categories of biohazardous waste disposal, and four levels of risk.

The four categories of biohazardous waste are:





What kind of waste, exactly, would be included in each category? We will address this in our next blog. Also, of course- protocol on how to dispose of various forms of biohazardous waste.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) categorizes various diseases in levels of biohazard, Level 1 being minimum risk and Level 4 being extreme risk. Laboratories and other facilities are categorized as BSL (Biosafety Level) 1-4 or as P1 throughP4 for short (Pathogen or Protection Level). So, if Ariana Grande has any of these various diseases in her system, the donuts would be respectively categorized using the following guidelines:

Bacteria and viruses including Bacillus subtilis, canine hepatitis, Escherichia coli, varicella (chicken pox), as well as some cell cultures and non-infectious bacteria, would constitute BIOHAZARD LEVEL 1.

At this level, precautions against the biohazardous waste would be minimal. Mostly, protection would involve using gloves and perhaps some facial protection.

Maybe Ariana Grande’s saliva would fall into this category. In a donut shop, gloves and hair nets would be enough to qualify as a good precaution against biohazardous waste. It is not possible to eradicate all bacteria. We do fine with some exposure to some strains of bacteria and viruses. Ariana Grande’s probabl included.

So, not a biohazardous waste concern.

Just a plain hazard concern.

Bacteria and viruses that just cause mild disease to humans, or are difficult to contract via aerosol in a lab setting, such as hepatitis A, B, and C, some influenza A strains, Lyme disease, salmonella, mumps, measles, scrapie, dengue fever, HIV, constitute BIOHAZARD LEVEL 2.

Routine diagnostic work with clinical specimens can be done safely at Biosafety Level 2, using Biosafety Level 2 practices and procedures.

BIOHAZARD LEVEL 3: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist.Some examples would be: anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, MERS coronavirus, hantaviruses, tuberculosis,typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis.

BIOHAZARD LEVEL 4: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, for which vaccines or other treatments are not available. Some examples would include Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, Lassa fever virus, Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic diseases. Variola virus (smallpox) is an agent that is worked with at BSL-4 despite the existence of a vaccine, as it has been erradicated.

This level of biohazard would require the use of a positive pressure personnel suit with a segregated air supply. Also, there would be mandatory multiple showers at the entrance and exit to a Level Four biolab,a vacuum room,an ultraviolet light room,an autonomous detection system, and other safety precautions that are designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. There would also be multiple airlocks to prevent both doors from opening at the same time. All the air and water that enters and exits a Biosafety level 4 lab would go through similar decontamination procedures to avoid any possibility of cross contamination.

Frankly, it could have been fun to see a bunch of pressure suits swarm Wolfee donuts to pick up the contaminated, biohazardous waste donuts that had been licked. It could have been amusing to watch someone come along and create a bigger story than this one will ever be. However, (as far as we know), Ariana Grande’s saliva is hardly more than a level one biohazard waste. It’s the kind of biohazard that we probably encounter about a million times a day, on door handles, computer keyboards, in handshakes… not that anyone wants to think too much into that. Also, if people in white pressure suits would have shown up and swarmed into Wolfee’s donuts, I don’t think anyone- anyone!- would be going in there as a customer in the near future… or maybe forever. Too many Ebola outbreak stories right now… and the kinds of speculations around the neighborhood that are really, really bad for business.

Instead, maybe Wolfee’s should capitalize on the short-lived public interest and create a “Grande saliva donut.” I’m sure they can come up with some fancy footwork on the icing to create a signature product that will attract customers for a while.

Waiting to see how this will all blow over, and who will gain from this incident. (I hope somebody does.)

Please feel free to peruse our site for other blog entries about current medical waste disposal issues.


I know I can count on you all to collect everything and do it safely.

You are a great company to work with. At our pharmaceutical production laboratory. We have gallons of leftover pharmaceutical waste that are a headache for our techs to deal with. I know I can count on you all to collect everything and do it safely. I’m pleased with the personal service.


Mitchell Adam

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