Kitchen towels 'can cause food poisoning'

Kitchen towels 'can cause food poisoning'

Researchers from the University of Mauritius have shown that factors such as family size, type of diet, multi-usage of towels, among other factors, impact the growth of pathogens on kitchen towels, potentially causing food poisoning.

Repeated use of kitchen towels can attract pathogens and put the households at a risk of food poisoning, says a new study.

About 49 per cent of the kitchen towels collected in the study had bacterial growth which increased in number with extended family, presence on children and increasing family size.

Experts found the issue was worst among large families, meat-eaters and those who use towels for multiple purposes such as wiping utensils, drying hands, holding hot items and wiping surfaces. Humid towels also showed a higher bacterial count when compared to the dry ones.

Of those 49 tested positive for bacterial growth, with 36 per cent contaminated with E.coli, 36 per cent contaminated with Enterococcus spp and 14 per cent with Staphylococcus aureus.

Bacterial build-up was measured on 100 towels over the course of a month during an experiment by scientists at the University of Mauritius.

Scientists cultured the bacteria found on the towels to identify them and determined the bacterial load.

The research found staphylococcus was more likely to be found on towels from families with children and of lower socio-economic status.

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"Humid towels and multipurpose usage of towels should be discouraged", Biranjia-Hurdoyal said in a statement.

MONDAY, June 11, 2018 (HealthDay News) - Is your kitchen towel making you sick?

The government recommends washing or changing dish cloths, tea towels, sponges and oven gloves regularly and letting them dry before re-use.

The virus is more likely to be present in damp towels or the ones which are used in households with non-vegetarian diets. Diet was also an important factor; families on non-vegetarian diets had higher prevalence of coliform and S. aureus detection.

"Cross-contamination is happening in the kitchen, and those bacteria could reach our food and cause food poisoning", said lead researcher Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal.

The presence of Escherichia coli indicates possible faecal contamination and lack of hygiene practices.

Although staph can indeed cause foodborne illness when it's found in food, the bacterium is also very common on skin. Critical observations of the research conclude that multiple uses of the towels may give rise to cross-contamination by potential pathogens. "Bigger families with children and elderly members should be especially vigilant to hygiene in the kitchen".

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