Every household has that one multipurpose towel which is used to clean utensils, wipe hands and tidy the kitchen counter. This towel would not mind crying aloud by end of day, if only it had a mouth! There is never shortage of milk spills owing to the glasses of chai and coffee that we drink, liquid stains from dhal or sabzis or even more, the effort it takes to clean up after cooking beef, meat or other non-vegetarian foods. For every such purpose, the only savior is our kitchen towel that hangs in a lonely corner in the kitchen or might even lie down on the floor somewhere. In between all this chaos, kids come running around and grab our prized possession to wipe off their dirty color palette or the extra glue sticking onto the study surface.
Kitchen Towels Stay As Reserve Banks for Parasites
Each of us know that kitchen hygiene goes a long way in making us stay healthy, safe and disease-free. Despite these advantages, laziness and carelessness overpower us and we fail to give our 100% to do our chores. Result of such a hasty behavior-improperly cleaned kitchen towels start developing friendship with germs!
A new research study suggests that our kitchen towels contain hosts of pathogens that can open the gates for food poisoning. Apart from our handling methods there are plenty other reasons such as family size and food type that impact pathogen numbers.
Tidying Hands or Embracing Pathogens?
Scientists conducting the research on these kitchen towels examined 100 towels that were used for a month. These researchers cultured the bacteria present on these towels to identify each of them and analyze the bacterial load. Of the total towels collected, 49% of them contained bacterial growth and this percentage further grew exponentially with increasing family size and presence of children. Of this 49% (49 samples), 36.7% grew coliform bacteria (E. coli is included in this category). E. coli is a type of bacteria which is mostly harmless but a few of them can cause severe food poisoning and serious infection. Present in large numbers in human feces, the presence of E. coli indicates unhygienic practices. Coliform bacteria and staphylococcus were predominantly present in towels used in meat-eating households. Staphylococcus is likelier to find its presence in families that are of low socio-economic status and have children. These bacteria too cause food poisoning as the bacteria multiplies quickly at room temperature and produces a toxin responsible for food poisoning.
If you wonder why meat-eating households have increased presence of bacteria, the reason is simple. Raw meat contains bacteria and when you place the meat on the cutting board and later, use a towel to tidy off your board, there is no way that your towels can keep off bacteria from them, especially wet towels. Try to avoid using moist towels as much as possible and also never use the same towel for different purposes. Coliforms were higher in number in humid towels than dry ones, multipurpose towels than single-use ones and in families consuming a non-vegetarian diet.
Previous research already has proved that kitchen items and towels serve as bacteria reservoirs, especially sponges, towels and drains. The present study goes one step further and tells us about the type of diseases that might attack an individual in such scenarios.
Safeguard From Germs
It is extremely easy to suggest someone to avoid using towels in the kitchen, but is it feasible? Absolutely not! Rather than providing unrealistic solutions, lets try to make life simpler and germ-reduced by following the below given tips:
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.