Tea towels can cause food poisoning

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The researchers recommended against multipurpose usage of kitchen towels and said that larger families "should be especially vigilant [when it comes] to hygiene in the kitchen", lead study author Dr. Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal, a senior lecturer in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Mauritius, said in a statement.

Using towels for a variety of uses increases the possibility of cross-contamination of potential pathogens that can spread bacteria and, therefore, lead to food poisoning.

The towels for multipurpose usage such as wiping utensils, drying hands, holding hot utensils and wiping/cleaning surfaces, had a higher bacterial count than single-use towels while humid towels showed higher bacterial count than the dry ones.

Towels that were damp showed higher bacterial counts than dry ones, and S. aureus was more likely to be found on towels from bigger families and those of lower socioeconomic status.

Of those 49 tested positive for bacterial growth, with 36 per cent contaminated with E.coli, 36 per cent contaminated with Enterococcus spp and 14 per cent with Staphylococcus aureus.

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As part of the study, 100 kitchen towels were collected and examined by the research team.

The humble kitchen towels used for multi-purpose tasks can put your households at potential risk of bacteria that cause food poisoning, say researchers.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Georgia.

The tea towel you used to dry the dishes last night is likely harbouring bacteria that could increase your risk of suffering a nasty case of food poisoning, according to a new study.

To keep germs from spreading, health experts recommend washing or changing kitchen towels, sponges, and oven gloves regularly and letting them dry before using them again.

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Avoid using tea towels as a "hand towel" after washing your hands or to dry benchtops - keep a separate towel in the kitchen for that objective.

Your kitchen towel may harbor a number of different bacteria, a new study finds.

Only use tea towels on clean, washed dishes. "The presence of Escherichia coli indicates possible fecal contamination and lack of hygiene practices (while handling non-vegetarian food)".

The bacteria found in these cloths can be anything from E.coli to salmonella - all mainly from food prepared in the kitchen. Critical observations of the research conclude that multiple uses of the towels may give rise to cross-contamination by potential pathogens.

Every time you reuse that cloth you are wiping bacteria across your kitchen bench.

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