Kitchen towels can cause food poisoning

Kitchen towels can cause food poisoning

Kitchen towels can cause food poisoning

A study shows how a tea towel can spread food poisoning.

Notably, E. coli is a kind of virus which is common in animal as well as human intestines. Damp towels had higher concentrations than dry, and towels used for a variety of tasks (drying hands, wiping surfaces, holding hot implements) were more likely to be contaminated than single-use dish cloths. The number of bacterial colonies growing in the towels rose with the family size and with presence of more number of children.

The microbiologists found that roughly half of the 100 towels were growing unsafe microbes, including the potentially infection-inducing Staphylococcus (also known as "staph") and E. coli. The risk of having coliforms (Escherichia coli) was higher from humid towels than the dried ones, from multipurpose towels than single-use ones and from families on non-vegetarian diets.

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"Our study demonstrates that the family composition and hygienic practices in the kitchen affected the microbial load of kitchen towels", said lead author Dr Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal. They also determined the bacterial load on the towels.

Repeated use of tea towels is putting households at risk of food poisoning, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and even meningitis, a new study suggests. Factors such as family size, type of diet, multi-usage of towels, among other factors and their impact on the growth of pathogens on kitchen towels was studied by researchers from the University of Mauritius which has led them to the conclusion that they can cause food poisoning.

Their thorough research work reveals that the multiple use towel shows the presence of Escherichia coli.

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Can kitchen towels cause food poisoning or illnesses? The research is presented at ASM Microbe, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, held from June 7th to June 11th in Atlanta, Georgia. Researchers found bacteria growth on 49 towels, with more than a third testing positive for coliforms, the group of species of which E coli is a member. Biranjia-Hurdoyal conducted an earlier study of kitchen tables in 2016 and found they can also be hangout spots for risky bacteria. On several towels they discovered faecal contamination.

"It doesn't surprise me at all that something that's in a kitchen environment has bacteria on it". 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.

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