Your kitchen towel could give you food poisoning

Researchers say kitchen towels could be reason for food poisoning

"Our study demonstrates that the family composition and hygienic practices in the kitchen affected the microbial load of kitchen towels", said lead author Dr Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal.

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.

Out of all the kitchen towels collected for the study, 49 percent had bacterial growth which increased with an increase in the number of family members, the presence of children and extended family. According to researchers, E. coli growth was more likely to be found on damp towels and on towels used for multiple purposes, such as drying dishes and cleaning counters.

And now, if you needed a reason to launder your trusty tea towels more regularly, scientists from the University of Mauritius have provided one.

Scientists at the University of Mauritius found that tea towels can also put people at risk since they are essentially a playground for bacteria. The rate of isolation of Staphylococcus aureus was higher for families of lower socioeconomic status and those with children.

Every time you reuse that cloth you are wiping bacteria across your kitchen bench. Compared with single-use towels, multipurpose towels had higher colony-forming units (CFUs); humid towels had higher CFUs than dry ones.

Ever wonder how much bacteria is growing on your kitchen towel? This bacterium, as well as coliforms, were also more likely to reside on towels used by families with non-vegetarian diets.

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. Participants were allowed to wash the towels as often as they pleased, according to Infectious Disease News.

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

Use different towels for different chores.

Tea towels aren't the only thing in your kitchen harbouring germs. All surfaces should be cleaned after use and most importantly hands should be washed before preparation of food and after handling raw meat, fish, eggs or poultry.

The presence of potential pathogens from the kitchen towels indicates that they could lead to food poisoning through cross-contamination.

For the study, Biranjia-Hurdoyal and her colleagues sampled 100 kitchen towels that had been used for one month.

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