Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Medical | By

How your kitchen towels can cause food poisoning

How your kitchen towels can cause food poisoning

The study didn't find any of the common culprits of foodborne illness, such as Salmonella, Campylobacter or pathogenic types of E. coli, such as E. coli O157:H7, he noted. "Mainly because you're cleaning up vegetables, carcasses of meat, and all sorts of food stuff that can potentially contain pathogenic [disease-causing] bacteria that will grow in numbers over time". The presence of potential pathogens from the kitchen towels indicates that they could be responsible for cross-contamination in the kitchen and could lead to food poisoning. Critical observations of the research conclude that multiple uses of the towels may give rise to cross-contamination by potential pathogens.

Moreover, the coliform bacteria and staphylococcus aureus were discovered to have a higher prevalence in towels collected from households eating non-vegetarian meals. Out of the 49 samples which were positive for bacterial growth, 36.7 percent grew coliforms, 36.7 percent Enterococcus spp, and 14.3 percent S. aureus. Humidity in the household increased the bacterial loads. The study noted presence of staphylococcus in towels that come from families that belong to lower socio-economic conditions and those with large number of kids.

"Humid towels and multipurpose usage of kitchen towels should be discouraged", Dr. Biranjia-Hurdoyal said. Multi-purpose towels had a higher bacterial count than single-use towels. A new study presented at the American Society for Microbiology meeting on Saturday revealed that moist and dirty kitchen towels can harbor bacteria that make you ill and even cause serious infections like E. coli.

Nearly half of the tea towels analysed had bacterial growth, which increased in number with extended family and the presence of children.

If you have any old towels these animals would love to use them2.


Use hot, soapy water and paper towels or clean cloths to wipe up kitchen surfaces or spills.

Researchers cultured bacteria from 100 kitchen towels after one month of use to determine both the type and amount of bacterial growth.

The researchers said the presence of E. coli indicated possible faecal contamination and bad hygiene practices. "Bigger families with children and elderly members should be especially vigilant to hygiene in the kitchen".

Chapman recommended frequently washing and drying kitchen towels to prevent bacterial growth. But "it doesn't surprise me at all that something that's in a kitchen environment has bacteria on it".

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