(CNN) — Ever marvel how a lot micro organism are growing on your kitchen towel? A brand new examine means that it might be lots and that the quantity will increase with household dimension and frequency of meat consumption.
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Researchers cultured micro organism from 100 kitchen towels after one month of use to find out each the kind and quantity of bacterial development. They discovered that 49% of the towels exhibited development of micro organism usually present in or on the human physique.
“In this study, we investigated the potential role of kitchen towels in cross-contamination in the kitchen and various factors affecting the microbial profile and load of kitchen towels,” stated Susheela D. Biranjia-Hurdoyal, senior lecturer of health sciences on the University of Mauritius and a lead creator on the examine introduced Saturday on the annual assembly of the American Society for Microbiology.
Of the 49 towels exhibiting bacterial development, virtually three-quarters grew micro organism usually discovered within the intestines, similar to E. coli and Enterococcus species. Another 14% grew colonies of Staphylococcus aureus, sometimes called “staph” — a bacterium that’s usually discovered on human pores and skin and within the respiratory tract, in keeping with the examine.
“Those are bacteria that are concerns for foodborne illnesses,” stated Paul Dawson, a food scientist and professor within the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences at Clemson University within the United States, who was not concerned within the examine.
“Of course, E. coli is in the news a lot, but E. coli as a general genus and species is not a problem,” Dawson added. “But there are particular varieties that may trigger issues, like those not too long ago discovered on romaine lettuce.”
Some strains of S. aureus also can produce a toxin that, if ingested, can result in signs of food poisoning similar to fever, vomiting and diarrhea, in keeping with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Staph is found on the hands and can cause foodborne infection by producing a toxin outside the body. Then you can ingest the toxin and get sick,” Dawson stated.
The researchers additionally discovered that the kind and quantity of micro organism differed based mostly on a household’s dimension, socioeconomic standing and kind of eating regimen. Specifically, S. aureus was extra prone to be discovered on towels from bigger households and people of decrease socioeconomic standing, whereas the intestinal micro organism have been extra prone to be present in households that ate meat.
“Raw meat carries bacteria, and then if you throw it on the cutting board and use a towel or sponge to dry that off, it could pick that up,” Dawson stated. “Cutting boards and tabletops used for food prep are of concern and need to be cleaned regularly and dried.”
The micro organism have been additionally extra prone to be discovered on moist towels than dry towels and on towels that have been used for a number of functions, similar to wiping utensils, drying fingers and cleansing surfaces, in keeping with the examine.
“Humid towels and multipurpose usage of towels should be discouraged,” Biranjia-Hurdoyal stated in a press release. “Moist towels could be very important in promoting the growth of potential pathogens responsible for food poisoning.”
The findings are in line with previous research exhibiting that towels and different kitchen objects might be reservoirs for micro organism that trigger foodborne sicknesses.
“It’s not a new finding that towels contain bacteria,” Dawson stated. “There’s just a wider range of sources of possible bacteria in the kitchen.”
These micro organism additionally are inclined to develop quicker in heat, damp environments similar to kitchen sponges, towels and drains. Therefore, folks ought to be sure you clear and dry their kitchen towels typically, in keeping with Dawson.
“You want to change that towel every few days. If you have multiple towels, just throw one in the washer and get a new one,” Dawson stated. “And for sponges, microwaving them might be a better way to sanitize them than just putting antimicrobial liquid on them.”
The new analysis additionally states that common cleansing could also be much more necessary for giant households, significantly these with youngsters, in keeping with Biranjia-Hurdoyal.
“Bigger families with children and elderly members should be especially vigilant to hygiene in the kitchen,” she stated.
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