Kitchen towels cause growth of pathogens and potentially food poisoning

12 June, 2018, 20:45 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • Undercooked poultry is a main source of food poisoning as bacteria- such as campylobacter- thrive if not killed by the high temperatures of cooking throughout the meat

It claims that the clothes, tea-towels, dish-wash sponges and the oven gloves should regularly be washed to maintain hygiene.

The team is presenting the results of their work at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Atlanta, Georgia.

"Kitchen towels won't necessarily make you sick", he said, "but they are a reservoir for these organisms that can sometimes be problematic". Humidity in the household increased the bacterial loads.

Multiple factors contribute to an increase in bacteria found on towels, including family size and the type of food consumed.

What were some of the factors affecting pathogen growth?

Nearly half the towels had bacteria growing on them - and unsurprisingly, towels used repeatedly and those that were damp were more likely to become microbe havens.

"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".

The best way to avoid illness is to wash your hands and kitchen surfaces regularly and cook all poultry thoroughly

"Humid towels and multipurpose usage of kitchen towels should be discouraged", Dr. Biranjia-Hurdoyal said.

Specifically, the researchers found that towels used for a variety of tasks - such as wiping utensils, drying hands, holding hot utensils or cleaning surfaces - had more bacteria than towels used for one task. S. aureus is a bacteria found in the respiratory tract.

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. Specifically, S. aureus was more likely to be found on towels from larger families and those of lower socioeconomic status, while the intestinal bacteria were more likely to be found in families that ate meat.

Humid towels had higher chances of harboring coliforms than the dried ones. The presence of Escherichia coli was said to indicate a possible fecal contamination and lack of hygiene practices such as washing hands. While it's true that a new study did find that kitchen towels aren't exactly bastions of cleanliness, you don't necessarily need to forever banish them to the deepest, darkest pits of hell.

Experts have noted the findings were not particularly surprising nor did they identify anything which could lead to a serious foodborne illness, such as salmonella.

Dr Ackerley previously told The Sun Online: "I have never come across a kitchen cloth that is safe. We really do live in a world that's dominated by microorganisms", Chapman told Live Science.

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