Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Kitchen Towels Laden With Bacteria

Kitchen Towels Laden With Bacteria

Few of us do - but there's a good chance these towels are crawling with bacteria that could increase your risk of food poisoning. Escherichia coli is a normal flora of human intestine and it is released in large numbers in human faeces.

The bacteria were also more likely to be found on wet towels than dry towels and on towels that were used for multiple purposes, such as wiping utensils, drying hands and cleaning surfaces, according to the study.

As per the study, around 50 per cent of the kitchen towels collected showed bacterial growth which increased in number with extended family, presence on children and increasing family size.

All of the bugs can cause food poisoning, with E.coli most likely to cause tummy pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea. Twice the risk of coliforms was observed for humid versus dry towels.

"Cross-contamination is happening in the kitchen, and those bacteria could reach our food and cause food poisoning", said lead researcher Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal.

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

But foodies, beware: If you're not careful about how often you wash your towels, your kitchen rags could become a breeding ground for unsafe, stomach-sickening germs. The study determined that meat-eating households, large family homes, and homes with a lower socio-economic background also had higher rates of bacteria growth, The Independent reports.

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Common bacterial strains were E. coli, species belonging to the Enterococcus genus, and Staphylococcus aureus.

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

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

A new study explored the kind of bacteria likely to reside in our kitchen towels.

Dr Ackerley previously told The Sun Online: "I have never come across a kitchen cloth that is safe". Results showed 49 percent of them had bacterial growth.

The experts have recommended that these towels and other regular use cloths in the kitchen should be replaced daily on days of cooking.

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

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