Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Tea towels used multiple times put families at risk of food poisoning

Tea towels used multiple times put families at risk of food poisoning

A study shows how a tea towel can spread food poisoning.

"Escherichia coli is a normal flora of human intestine and it is released in large numbers in human feces", the researchers said. Damp towels had higher concentrations than dry, and towels used for a variety of tasks (drying hands, wiping surfaces, holding hot implements) were more likely to be contaminated than single-use dish cloths.

Researchers examined 100 towels for one month and found bacteria growth on almost half (49 per cent) of them.

The microbiologists found that roughly half of the 100 towels were growing risky microbes, including the potentially infection-inducing Staphylococcus (also known as "staph") and E. coli.

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Both E. coli and S. aureus were found at higher rates in 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", said lead author Dr Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal. Twice the risk of coliforms was observed for humid versus dry towels. A new research study performed indicates the increased risks of food poisoning on account of reusing the tea towels.

"Diet, type of use, and moist kitchen towels could be very important in promoting the growth of potential pathogens responsible for food poisoning", Biranjia-Hurdoyal said in a statement.

But foodies, beware: If you're not careful about how often you wash your towels, your kitchen rags could become a breeding ground for risky, stomach-sickening germs.

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In the 49 towels that showed bacterial load, 36.7 percent showed coliform bacteria or a group that includes the deadly E. coli.

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

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

A new study found kitchen towels can be a breeding ground for E. coli.

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The experts have recommended that these towels and other regular use cloths in the kitchen should be replaced daily on days of cooking. 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. Hygiene maintenance is vital for families that have more members or have children and elderly she said. "There's just a wider range of sources of possible bacteria in the kitchen".

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