Beware, your kitchen towel can give you food poisoning

Kitchen towels 'can cause food poisoning'

Kitchen towels 'can cause food poisoning'

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.

Forty-nine percent of the kitchen towels collected in the study had bacterial growth that increased in number with extended family, presence of children and increasing family size.

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.

A total of 100 kitchen towels were collected after one month of use. They classified the types of bacteria on the towels and also how much bacteria was present.

A new study explored the kind of bacteria likely to reside in our kitchen towels.

To keep germs from spreading, health experts recommend washing or changing kitchen towels, sponges, and oven gloves regularly and letting them dry before using them again.

Lead author Dr Biranjia-Hurdoyal said: "Our study demonstrates that the family composition and hygienic practices in the kitchen affected the microbial load of kitchen towels". Towels used by families with children or elderly people contained more bacteria, as did large families in general.

Avoid using tea towels as a "hand towel" after washing your hands or to dry benchtops - keep a separate towel in the kitchen for that objective.

Higher rates of S. aureus were found among low-income families and those with children, the findings showed.

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

"They should be machine washed in hot water with soap and bleach if white, or if colored use a peroxide-containing soap made for sanitizing colored clothes", said Philip Tierno Jr., PhD, clinical professor of Microbiology and Pathology at NYU School of Medicine.

Bacteria can not grow on something you throw away immediately after use.

According to the researchers, the presence of these potential pathogens, especially E.coli, from the kitchen towels indicates potential faecal contamination and bad hygiene practices.

The USDA also recommends taking several precautions when preparing food in the kitchen in order to prevent the spread of germs that could make you or your family sick.

"Furthermore, reusing contaminated towels to wipe hands or other surfaces can easily lead to cross-contamination, and therefore should not be reused throughout meal preparation, since they too can contribute to contamination of hands, surfaces or other food products", Sauer said.