Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

How your kitchen towels can cause food poisoning

How your kitchen towels can cause food poisoning

Experts say ideally, every day.

This is not the first study to warn families to be wary of kitchen hygiene.

Kitchen towels are a chef's essential.

Is your kitchen towel making you sick?

Unwashed kitchen towels provide a great place for unsafe pathogens to thrive, especially when the towels stay wet, or come in contact with meat.

The study, carried out by the University of Mauritius, examined 100 tea towels that had been used for a month.

The findings of the research will be presented at the American Society for Microbiology at its annual meeting. Therefore, people should be sure to clean and dry their kitchen towels often, according to Dawson. The results weren't pretty. The risk for E. coli was higher in damp towels than dry ones, from towels used for several jobs rather than single-use ones, and from those used in non-vegetarian households.

Non-vegetarian homes were more likely to have E. coli on their towels, but veggie-eaters weren't completely safe, either.

In a food-handling study he did in 2015, Sauer found that cloth towels were the most contaminated. It's another type of bacteria that can lead to infection, especially in older adults.

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"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 lead author Susheela D. Biranjia-Hurdoyal, senior lecturer from the Department of Health Sciences at the university.

The USDA also recommends washing kitchen cloths regularly.

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

Nearly half the towels had bacteria growing on them - and unsurprisingly, towels used repeatedly and those that were damp were more likely to become microbe havens.

Use different towels for different chores.

The towels for multipurpose usage such as wiping utensils, drying hands, holding hot utensils and wiping/cleaning surfaces, had a higher bacterial count than single-use towels while humid towels showed higher bacterial count than the dry ones.

Additionally, a 2015 US study that looked at kitchen health conditions in 100 Philadelphia homes found that almost half had at least one foodborne disease-causing organism, such as E. coli. More people sharing a kitchen means you're also more likely to spread and share germs (yum!).

The new research also states that regular cleaning may be even more important for large families, particularly those with children, according to Biranjia-Hurdoyal.

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