Kitchen towels can pose to at a risk of food poisoning

Re-using tea towels too much could increase your risk of getting food poisoning

Re-using tea towels too much could increase your risk of getting food poisoning

'We also found that diet, type of use and moist kitchen towels could be very important in promoting the growth of potential pathogens responsible for food poisoning'.

All of the bugs can cause food poisoning, with E.coli most likely to cause tummy pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea.

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.

Kitchen towels may harbor risky bacteria such as e.coli from human feces that can cause food poisoning.

New research suggests our kitchen towels hold on to a lot of gross stuff.

When it comes to the bacteria species, Coliform and S. aureus were found to be significantly higher in prevalence from families who have non-vegetarian diets.

Their research discovered E. coli was more likely to be found on tea towels used for more than one job, including cleaning surfaces and wiping utensils, as well as drying hands. Of these contaminated towels, 37 per cent grew the enterococcus bacteria (which can cause a variety of infections), while 14 per cent grew the staphylococcus bacteria (a type of germ found on the skin).


Higher rates of S. aureus were found among low-income families and those with children, the findings showed.

Forty-nine percent of the kitchen towels collected in the study had bacterial growth that increased in number with extended family, presence of children and increasing family size.

Scientists at the University of Mauritius found that tea towels can also put people at risk since they are essentially a playground for bacteria. This could happen if, for instance, someone used a kitchen towel to wipe up meat juices from the counter and another person unknowingly used the towel to dry their hands, Chapman said.

"The data indicated that unhygienic practices while handling non-vegetarian food could be common in the kitchen", said Biranjia-Hurdoyal. Towels used by families with children or elderly people contained more bacteria, as did large families in general.

For the study, Biranjia-Hurdoyal and her colleagues sampled 100 kitchen towels that had been used for one month. "There's just a wider range of sources of possible bacteria in the kitchen". It claims that the clothes, tea-towels, dish-wash sponges and the oven gloves should regularly be washed to maintain hygiene.

The scientists swabbed, cultured and preserved the bacterial contamination from such towels.

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