Bacteria from kitchen towels could lead to food poisoning

Researchers say kitchen towels could be reason for food poisoning

Can kitchen towels cause food poisoning or illnesses?

Non-vegetarian diets, multipurpose use, and leaving the towels moist may increase the risk of or directly promote the growth of pathogens, Biranjia-Hurdoyal added.

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

Kitchen towels can harbor pathogens that may cause food poisoning, findings of new study have revealed. Specifically, S. aureus was more likely to be found on towels from larger families and those of lower socioeconomic status, while the intestinal bacteria were more likely to be found in families that ate meat. The towels for multipurpose usage (wiping utensils, drying hands, holding hot utensils, wiping/cleaning surfaces) had a higher bacterial count than single-use towels and humid towels showed higher bacterial count than the dry ones. Of the 49 samples that tested positive: "36.7 per cent grew coliforms (E. coli), 36.7 per cent Enterococcus spp and 14.3 per cent S. aureus". The families who provided the towels also submitted a filled-out questionnaire about their living conditions. Out of 100 towels collected for the study, the researchers found that 49 percent contained bacterial growth and the figure increased in the families that had more of members, presence of kids and increasing family size. Towels used by families with children or elderly people contained more bacteria, as did large families in general. Participants were allowed to wash the towels as often as they pleased, according to Infectious Disease News.

Coliform and S aureus were detected at significantly higher prevalence from families with non-vegetarian diets.

Scientists at the University of Mauritius found that tea towels can also put people at risk since they are essentially a playground for bacteria.

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The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Atlanta, Georgia, in the US.

Use paper towels once.

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

Wash hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers or handling pets.

"The data indicated that unhygienic practices while handling non-vegetarian food could be common in the kitchen", said Biranjia-Hurdoyal.

According to lead author of the study, Dr Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal, the presence of coliforms indicate that there is a possibility of bad hygiene and fecal contamination.

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