Beware of kitchen towels: Researchers claim tea towels could cause food poisoning

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A new study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Mauritius has found that multiple usages of kitchen towels will put households at the risk of food poisoning. The study report, which was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Atlanta Georgia, has revealed that the multi-usage of towels such as wiping utensils and cleaning surfaces will influence the growth of disease-causing pathogens which will finally result in food poisoning.

Kitchen towels: The silent killer

During the study, researchers examined 100 sample kitchen towels that had been used for more than a month for multifarious tasks including utensil cleaning, surface wiping and even drying hands. They found the presence of E.coli bacteria in these towels that can cause illness in humans including diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever and severe vomiting.

The study led by Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal, a top researcher at the University of Mauritius also found that the bacterial growth and the amount of pathogen increases with the bigger family size and due to the presence of children. As per the study, multiple usages of towels increase the cross-contamination of pathogens that can spread bacteria like E.coli which will apparently result in food poisoning.

Out of the 100 towels tested, 49 percent showed significant bacterial growth. 36.7 percent towels had Enterococcus spp growth, while another 36.7 percent harboured E.coli growth and the remaining 14.3 had S. aureus. It should be noted that the presence of coliform bacteria and Staphylococcus were very higher in meat-eating households.

Tips to prevent germs spreading in kitchen

One of the best ways by which the pathogen spreading in the kitchen can be reduced is by changing dish clothes and tea towels regularly. Experts recommend replacing kitchen towels daily, or at least on the days cooking happens in the kitchen. It is also recommended to use disposable clothes and paper towels to reduce the spread of pathogens. Separate chopping boards should be used for uncooked food like raw meat.