Published: Fri, June 15, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

Kitchen Towels Could Contribute to Growth of Pathogens That Cause Food Poisoning

Kitchen Towels Could Contribute to Growth of Pathogens That Cause Food Poisoning

"We also found that diet, type of use and moist kitchen towels could be very important in promoting the growth of potential pathogens responsible for food poisoning", she said.

The larger the family the higher the chance of bacterial growth on the tea towels, the study found. Compared with single-use towels, multipurpose towels had higher colony-forming units (CFUs); humid towels had higher CFUs than dry ones. Of these-typically towels associated with children, larger families, multiple uses, higher humidity, and diets containing meat-37% contained E. coli and the same percentage had Enterococcus, bacteria linked to infections of the gut, urinary tract, and bloodstream, reports US News & World Report.

Of the 49 samples which were positive for bacterial growth, 36.7% grew coliform bacteria, a group which includes E. coli.

To conclude the study, the researchers involved around one hundred towels. They classified the types of bacteria on the towels and also how much bacteria was present.

Findings from the study were scheduled for presentation Saturday at the American Society for Microbiology meeting, in Atlanta.

New research suggests our kitchen towels hold on to a lot of gross stuff.

"Our study demonstrates that the family composition and hygienic practices in the kitchen affected the microbial load of kitchen towels", Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal, a senior lecturer at the University of Mauritius, Department of Health Sciences, said.

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

Use hot, soapy water and paper towels or clean cloths to wipe up kitchen surfaces or spills.

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

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

Half were growing bacteria like staph and e-coli. "The presence of Escherichia coli indicates possible fecal contamination and lack of hygiene practices (while handling non-vegetarian food)".

The food poisoning bacteria, which can be fatal for the elderly or the infirm, were more prevalent among families that had non-vegetarian diets.

"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.

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