Tea Towels Can Put You At Risk For Food Poisoning, Research Says

Researchers say kitchen towels could be reason for food poisoning

Notably, E. coli is a kind of virus which is common in animal as well as human intestines. Those germs were also more likely to be found in multipurpose towels - those used for wiping utensils, drying hands, holding hot implements, and cleaning surfaces - and on the kitchen towels of families who ate non-vegetarian diets.

Forty-nine percent of the kitchen towels collected for the study were laden with bacteria, and the bacterial count increased with the number of family members and kids, researchers from the Indian Ocean island/nation of Mauritius reported.

Of the infected towels, more than a third had the potentially deadly E.coli bug. This bacterium, as well as coliforms, were also more likely to reside on towels used by families with non-vegetarian diets.

"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 Dr. Susheela D. Biranjia-Hurdoyal, Senior Lecturer, Department of Health Sciences, University of Mauritius, lead author on the study.

These bacteria also tend to grow faster in warm, damp environments such as kitchen sponges, towels and drains.

In order to keep your kitchen towels clean and minimize the risk of food poisoning, change them regularly, allow them to dry thoroughly, stick to single uses, and wash your hands regularly.

But foodies, beware: If you're not careful about how often you wash your towels, your kitchen rags could become a breeding ground for risky, stomach-sickening germs.

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The research found staphylococcus was more likely to be found on towels from families with children and of lower socio-economic status. Critical observations of the research conclude that multiple uses of the towels may give rise to cross-contamination by potential pathogens.

Additionally, a 2015 USA 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.

Half of tea towels analysed contained bacteria, with big families and meat eaters facing increased danger.

And out of these 49 samples positive for bacterial growth, 36.7 per cent grew coliforms, 36.7 per cent Enterococcus spp and 14.3 per cent S. aureus.

For the study, Biranjia-Hurdoyal and her colleagues sampled 100 kitchen towels that had been used for one month.

The experts have recommended that these towels and other regular use cloths in the kitchen should be replaced daily on days of cooking.

Dr Ackerley previously told The Sun Online: "I have never come across a kitchen cloth that is safe".

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