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Do you know what's growing on your kitchen towel?
12 June 2018, 08:45 | Melissa Porter
Roughly half of the kitchen towels sampled in the study were teeming with bacteria. Getty Images
Few of us do - but there's a good chance these towels are crawling with bacteria that could increase your risk of food poisoning.
Scientists found half the towels they analysed contained bacteria such as E.coli - with damp or wet material boosting their numbers.
In addition, towels used for multiple purposes - including wiping utensils, drying hands and wiping surfaces - grew more bacteria than towels used for a single objective, the researchers found. The study found that 49 percent of the towels tested positive for bacteria and that the amount of bacteria was higher for towels used by large families or families with children, compared with towels used by smaller families or families without children.
All of the bugs can cause food poisoning, with E.coli most likely to cause tummy pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea. This bacterium, as well as coliforms, were also more likely to reside on towels used by families with non-vegetarian diets.
"Our study demonstrates that the family composition and hygienic practices in the kitchen affected the microbial load of kitchen towels", says lead author Susheela D Biranjia-Hurdoyal, senior lecturer at the University of Mauritius.
Kitchen towels may harbor risky bacteria such as e.coli from human feces that can cause food poisoning.
Researchers from the University of Mauritius have shown that factors such as family size, type of diet, multi-usage of towels and other factors, impact the growth of pathogens on kitchen towels, potentially causing food poisoning. Researchers said the presence of E coli on several towels in the study is likely to have come from faecal contamination, suggesting unhygienic practices in the kitchen are widespread.
When is the last time you washed your kitchen towels?
She said that these results show bad handling of non-vegetarian foods in the kitchen.
Kitchen towels can harbor pathogens that may cause food poisoning, findings of new study have revealed. "Bigger families with children and elderly members should be especially vigilant to hygiene in the kitchen", Biranjia-Hurdoyal said.
Kitchen towels that don't air dry are filled with nasty germs.
"It doesn't surprise me at all that something that's in a kitchen environment has bacteria on it". The families who provided the towels also submitted a filled-out questionnaire about their living conditions. Another 14 percent grew colonies of Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to as "staph" - a bacteria that is normally found on human skin and in the respiratory tract, according to the study.
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