Kitchen towels 'can cause food poisoning'

Kitchen towels 'can cause food poisoning'

Kitchen towels 'can cause food poisoning'

Baughn also notes it's important to remember that if you cut yourself while cooking, don't grab that kitchen towel you used to dry food or clean potentially contaminated surfaces.

About 49 per cent of the kitchen towels collected in the study had bacterial growth which increased in number with extended family, presence on children and increasing family size.

Multipurpose towels (used for wiping plates, cutlery, kitchen surfaces, hands) had a higher bacterial count than single-use ones while humid towels were found to have a higher bacterial count than the dry ones.

Of those 49 tested positive for bacterial growth, with 36 per cent contaminated with E.coli, 36 per cent contaminated with Enterococcus spp and 14 per cent with Staphylococcus aureus.

For the study, Biranjia-Hurdoyal and her colleagues sampled 100 kitchen towels that had been used for one month.

"But staph being "[on] the towel isn't as concerning as [it being in] food", an expert tells Live Science, noting researchers failed to find the types of bacteria typically associated with foodborne illnesses, like salmonella and O157:H7, a particularly harmful strain of E. coli. And damp towels grew more bacteria than dry towels, according to the study, which was presented Saturday (June 9) at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in Atlanta.

New research shows some nasty findings about the bacteria that can be found.

"Our study demonstrates that the family composition and hygienic practices in the kitchen affected the microbial load of kitchen towels", Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal, a senior lecturer at the University of Mauritius, Department of Health Sciences, said.

Only use tea towels on clean, washed dishes.

Humid towels had higher chances of harboring coliforms than the dried ones.

They're in the air that we breathe, hanging out on our phones and computer keyboards - and teeming on kitchen sinks, counters and cutting boards.

"The data indicated that unhygienic practices while handling non-vegetarian food could be common in the kitchen", said Dr Biranjia-Hurdoyal. For example, E. coli and S. aureus were more prevalent in meat-eating households than vegetarian ones.

"This will reduce the opportunity for bacteria to grow to potentially unsafe levels", he said. The presence of Escherichia coli indicates possible fecal contamination and lack of hygiene practices.

The study further states that staphylococcus aureus was isolated at a higher rate from families of lower socio-economic status and those with children. "Bigger families with children and elderly members should be especially vigilant to hygiene in the kitchen", she said. Critical observations of the research conclude that multiple uses of the towels may give rise to cross-contamination by potential pathogens.

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