Bacteria from kitchen towels could lead to food poisoning

Kitchen towels 'can cause food poisoning'

Kitchen towels 'can cause food poisoning'

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

"The presence of these potential pathogens from the kitchen towels indicates that they could be responsible for cross-contamination in the kitchen and could lead to food poisoning", the researchers say.

Forty-nine percent of the kitchen towels collected for the study were laden with bacteria, and the bacterial count increased with the number of family members and kids, researchers from the Indian Ocean island/nation of Mauritius reported.

Germs were more likely to be found on towels that didn't get dry thoroughly, towels that were used for multiple purposes like drying dishes and hand, and towels in homes with children.

Among the samples which were positive for bacterial growth, 36.7 percent grew coliforms, 36.7 percent grew Enterococcus spp, and 14.3 percent grew S. aureus.

As part of the study, 100 kitchen towels were collected and examined by the research team.

Scientists found half the towels they analysed contained bacteria such as E.coli - with damp or wet material boosting their numbers.

The research was presented at ASM Microbe, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, held from June 7th to June 11th in Atlanta, Georgia.

"Our study demonstrates that the family composition and hygienic practices in the kitchen affected the microbial load of kitchen towels", ANI news reported Susheela D. Biranjia-Hurdoyal, the lead author on the study as saying.

Still, Chapman said that, in theory, kitchen towels could aid in the spread of foodborne illness.

"The data indicated that unhygienic practices while handling non-vegetarian food could be common in the kitchen", she said with regards to the potential for cross-contamination in the kitchen.

What were the kinds of bacteria found on the towels?

"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.

Coliform bacteria and staphylococcus were found at a "significantly higher prevalence" on towels from meat-eating households.

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 bacteria found in these cloths can be anything from E.coli to salmonella - all mainly from food prepared in the kitchen.

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