Kitchen towels could cause food poisoning

Leslie Hanson
June 14, 2018

There's a decent chance your kitchen towels are hiding bacteria linked to food poisoning and other infections, according to a new study - though some are urging caution before tossing those towels in the trash.

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

"What's listed here doesn't initially raise concerns with me", he said.

Some strains of S. aureus can also produce a toxin that, if ingested, can lead to symptoms of food poisoning such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


"Bigger families with children and elderly members should be especially vigilant to hygiene", says Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal, lead author of the research presented at an annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, per USA Today. Paul Dawson, a food scientist at Clemson University, pointed out that E.coli as a general genus and species is not a problem, despite being in the news a lot: "But there are specific types that can cause problems, like the ones recently found on romaine lettuce".

The rate of isolation of Staphylococcus aureus was higher for families of lower socioeconomic status and those with children. A recent study revealed that kitchen towels have the potential to cause food poisoning.

The risk of having coliforms (Escherichia coli) was higher from humid towels than the dried ones, from multipurpose towels than single-use ones and from families on non-vegetarian diets.

Further, the study found that the bacteria coliform and S. aureus were drastically more prevalent in the towels of meat-eating families, meaning those who eschew meat from the diet, such as vegetarians and vegans, are exposed to fewer bacteria. "Mainly because you're cleaning up vegetables, carcasses of meat, and all sorts of food stuff that can potentially contain pathogenic [disease-causing] bacteria that will grow in numbers over time". That means changing and washing tea towels regularly, and using disposable cloths or paper towels for cleaning, BBC reports. In light of a new study from the University of Mauritius, you might want to get on that, fast! "And for sponges, microwaving them might be a better way to sanitize them than just putting antimicrobial liquid on them".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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