Your kitchen towels could give you food poisoning, study suggests

13 June, 2018, 20:41 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • A study shows how a tea towel can spread food poisoning

"We also found that diet, type of use and moist kitchen towels could be very important in promoting the growth of potential pathogens responsible for food poisoning", she added.

49% 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. Compared with single-use towels, multipurpose towels had higher colony-forming units (CFUs); humid towels had higher CFUs than dry ones.

Bacteria were also found in higher volumes on tea towels in households with larger families and on damp tea towels used before they had adequately dried.

Of the 49 samples that were infested with bacteria, 37 percent had Escherichia coli (E. coli), 37 percent had Enterococcus, and 14 percent were infected with Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus).

For the study, the researchers examined a total of 100 kitchen towels that had been used for one month.

A new research has found that dirty kitchen towels can cause food poisoning due to the growth of pathogens in them.

The findings of the research will be presented at the American Society for Microbiology at its annual meeting.

Multipurpose towels have higher colony-forming units; humid towels have higher CFU versus dry ones.

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The government recommends washing or changing dish cloths, tea towels, sponges and oven gloves regularly and letting them dry before re-use.

Ever wonder how much bacteria is growing on your kitchen towel?

"Cross-contamination is happening in the kitchen, and those bacteria could reach our food and cause food poisoning", said lead researcher Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal.

"This will reduce the opportunity for bacteria to grow to potentially risky levels", he said.

S. aureus was isolated at a higher rate from families of lower socio-economic status and those with children. The presence of Escherichia coli indicates possible fecal contamination and lack of hygiene practices.

Coliform bacteria and staphylococcus were found at a "significantly higher prevalence" on towels from meat-eating households.

The bacteria found in these cloths can be anything from E.coli to salmonella - all mainly from food prepared in the kitchen.

"Furthermore, reusing contaminated towels to wipe hands or other surfaces can easily lead to cross-contamination, and therefore should not be reused throughout meal preparation, since they too can contribute to contamination of hands, surfaces or other food products", Sauer said. "Bigger families with children and elderly members should be especially vigilant to hygiene in the kitchen", suggests Biranjia-Hurdoyal.

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