Kitchen Towels Full of Germs

Do you know what's growing on your kitchen towel

Researchers from the University of Mauritius have shown that factors such as family size, type of diet, multi-usage of towels and other factors, impact the growth of pathogens on kitchen towels, potentially causing food poisoning. The study didn't find any of the common culprits of foodborne illness, such as Salmonella, Campylobacter or pathogenic types of E. coli, such as E. coli O157:H7, he noted.

But foodies, beware: If you're not careful about how often you wash your towels, your kitchen rags could become a breeding ground for unsafe, stomach-sickening germs. Because they are used for various purposes, they tend to help spread the bacteria to different surfaces and areas in the house leading to food poisoning, the researchers explain.

Kitchen towels can harbor pathogens that may cause food poisoning, findings of new study have revealed.

Of the towels colonised with bacteria, 37 percent had Escherichia coli (E. coli), 37 percent had Enterococcus, and 14 percent were infected with Staphylococcus aureus. They discovered that the E. coli virus was more likely to be present in the towels used for multiple tasks in the kitchen like cleaning the surfaces, drying out the hands and wiping the utensils.

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Ever wonder how much bacteria is growing on your kitchen towel? It also found tea towels in the homes of larger families and those of a lower socio-economic background had higher rates of bacteria growth.

Keep them dry. Bacteria love moisture, and humid towels grow more of it. Keep your towels splayed open on a rack or rod where they can dry out in between uses, and consider getting a towel with nylon or polyester in the fabric, as they'll dry faster than 100% cotton towels.

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.

Scientists carrying out the research grew cultures from bacteria found on tea towels to identify them and determine the bacteria load.

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Use paper towels once. "The presence of Escherichia coli indicates possible fecal contamination and lack of hygiene practices (while handling non-vegetarian food)".

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

"Humid towels and multipurpose usage of kitchen towels should be discouraged", Dr. Biranjia-Hurdoyal said. "Bigger families with children and elderly members should be especially vigilant to hygiene in the kitchen", Biranjia-Hurdoyal suggested.

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