Look Out! Kitchen Towels Can Cause Food Poisoning

Researchers say kitchen towels could be reason for food poisoning

"Our study demonstrates that the family composition and hygienic practices in the kitchen affected the microbial load of kitchen towels", ANI news reported Susheela D. Biranjia-Hurdoyal, the lead author on the study as saying.

Non-vegetarian diets, multipurpose use, and leaving the towels moist may increase the risk of or directly promote the growth of pathogens, Biranjia-Hurdoyal added. They found that 49 percent of the towels exhibited growth of bacteria normally found in or on the human body. According to researchers, E. coli growth was more likely to be found on damp towels and on towels used for multiple purposes, such as drying dishes and cleaning counters. They also determined the bacterial load on the towels.

They found staphylococcus was more likely to be found on towels from families with children and of lower socio-economic status.

New research suggests our kitchen towels hold on to a lot of gross stuff.

Although staph can indeed cause foodborne illness when it's found in food, the bacterium is also very common on skin.

Out of the remaining towels that tested positive for bacterial presence, 36.7 percent towels contained coliform bacteria while the rest 36.7 percent contained enterococcus spp and remaining 14.3 contained staphylococcus aureus. The presence of potential pathogens from the kitchen towels indicates that they could be responsible for cross-contamination in the kitchen and could lead to food poisoning.

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Coliforms (Escherichia coli) was found to be higher in humid towels, multipurpose towels and in towels from families having non-vegetarian diets.

Researchers cultured bacteria from 100 kitchen towels after one month of use to determine both the type and amount of bacterial growth.

Sauer advised that people should avoid using towels in place of hand-washing, because they can easily become contaminated with harmful germs from raw meat and poultry juices.

Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers or handling pets. Using disposable or paper towels can prevent the risk of spreading of bacteria.

Families who ate meat were more likely to have bacteria growing on their tea towels and E.coli indicated possible faecal contamination from bad hygiene. "Bigger families with children and elderly members should be especially vigilant to hygiene in the kitchen".

Tea towels aren't the only thing in your kitchen harbouring germs.

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