Kitchen towel could cause food poisoning, study suggests

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Chopping boards were once the major culprit for food poisoning in the kitchen, however, a new study has found the trusty old tea towel is another breeding ground for bacteria.

Researchers from the University of Mauritius performed tests on 100 cloth towels they collected from participants that had been used over a month.

The results found 49 of the samples had bacterial growth, including Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The study also found E.coli was more likely to develop on towels that had been left to sit damp, while the development of coliforms and MRSA bacteria had high rates of detection in households with non-vegetarian eaters.

“The data indicated that unhygienic practices while handling non-vegetarian food could be common in the kitchen,” said lead author Dr. Susheela D. Biranjia-Hurdoyal, a senior lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Mauritius.

Furthermore, larger families and those of a lower socio-economic background had higher rates of bacteria on their tea towels.

“Humid towels and multipurpose usage of kitchen towels should be discouraged. Bigger families with children and elderly members should be especially vigilant to hygiene in the kitchen.”

Food poisoning affects approximately 1.4 million Australian each year, and symptoms can range from a minor headache to severe stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and nausea.

For more on this topic, these are the 10 things you should do to avoid food poisoning. Plus, a food expert reveals the 6 foods he never eats.

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