Kitchen towels could be behind food poisoning

Maricruz Casares
Junio 12, 2018

Several factors - including diet, family size and usage - influence the growth of pathogens on kitchen towels, the scientists said in a statement.

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.

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.

Repeated use of the tea towels in the kitchen may be putting the families at risk of food poisonings finds study.

Kitchen towels may harbor unsafe bacteria such as e.coli from human feces that can cause food poisoning.

The food poisoning bacteria, which can be fatal for the elderly or the infirm, were more prevalent among families that had non-vegetarian diets.

Those used for a range of purposes, such as for wiping utensils, wiping and cleaning surfaces, and drying hands, were found to have higher amount of bacteria compared with single use towels.

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Out of the remaining towels that tested positive for bacterial presence, 36.7 percent towels contained coliform bacteria while the rest 36.7 percent contained enterococcus spp and remaining 14.3 contained staphylococcus aureus. They noted that 49 percent of the towels had growth of bacteria in them.

Of the towels collected, 49 per cent had bacterial growth, which increased in number with extended family, presence of children and increasing family size. And damp towels grew more bacteria than dry towels, according to the study, which was presented Saturday (June 9) at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in Atlanta. But just how often do you need to swap them out? Humid towels also have more bacteria compared with the dry ones.

The towels incurred from the meat-eating houses showed a higher prevalence of Coliforms along with the Staphylococcus. All surfaces should be cleaned after use and most importantly hands should be washed before preparation of food and after handling raw meat, fish, eggs or poultry. Using disposable or paper towels can prevent the risk of spreading of bacteria.

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

The researchers said that the data suggest that unhygienic handling of non-vegetarian food commonly happens in the kitchen.

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

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