Kitchen towels that don’t air dry are filled with nasty germs
13 June, 2018, 20:42
Several factors - including diet, family size and usage - influence the growth of pathogens on kitchen towels, the scientists said in a statement. Out of these towels collected, 49 per cent had bacterial growth which increased in number with extended family, presence on children and increasing family size.
In addition, towels used for multiple purposes - including wiping utensils, drying hands and wiping surfaces - grew more bacteria than towels used for a single goal, the researchers found.
Research showed the risk of towels contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli was higher on humid towels, multi-purpose towels, and in families with non-vegetarian diets. Out of the 49 samples which were positive for bacterial growth, 36.7% grew coliforms, 36.7% Enterococcus spp and 14.3% S. aureus.
"In this study, we investigated the potential role of kitchen towels in cross-contamination in the kitchen and various factors affecting the microbial profile and load of kitchen towels", said Susheela D. Biranjia-Hurdoyal, senior lecturer of health sciences at the University of Mauritius and a lead author on the study presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
A new research has found that dirty kitchen towels can cause food poisoning due to the growth of pathogens in them. This could happen if, for instance, someone used a kitchen towel to wipe up meat juices from the counter and another person unknowingly used the towel to dry their hands, Chapman said.
When is the last time you washed your kitchen towels?
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Avoid using tea towels as a "hand towel" after washing your hands or to dry benchtops - keep a separate towel in the kitchen for that goal.
Use paper towels once.
And while washing towels frequently is a good habit, "humid towels and multipurpose usage of kitchen towels should be discouraged", Biranjia-Hurdoyal says.
The food poisoning bacteria, which can be fatal for the elderly or the infirm, were more prevalent among families that had non-vegetarian diets. The presence of Escherichia coli was said to indicate a possible fecal contamination and lack of hygiene practices such as washing hands. The rate of isolation of Staphylococcus aureus was higher for families of lower socioeconomic status and those with children.
The bacteria found in these cloths can be anything from E.coli to salmonella - all mainly from food prepared in the kitchen.
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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