LAST_UPDATEFri, 22 Jun 2018 11pm

Your Dish Towels Can Cause Food Poisoning, Here’s Why

Whether it’s prepping food, cooking or baking, it’s always handy to have a dish towel in your kitchen to wipe that grease off the stove, or dry your wet hands – and most women who spend time in this area of the house would agree.

But there is a danger of using dish towels, as a new research suggest it can be the very factor that causes food poisoning.

BBC reported, scientists from the University of Mauritius examined 100 towels that had been used for a month and found that the bacteria E.coli was more likely to be found on towels used for multiple jobs, such as wiping utensils and cleaning surfaces, as well as drying hands.

E.coli is a type of bacteria commonly found in the environment, foods, and intestines of people and animals. Though majority are harmless, some can cause severe food poisoning and serious infection.

During their study, the scientists cultured the bacteria found on the towels to identify them and determined the bacterial load.

They found, 49 per cent had bacterial growth, with 36.7 per cent growing coliform bacteria, a group which includes E. coli.

The scientists found that the number of bacteria grew with the increasing family size, for example in the presence of children or extended family.

They also noted that the dish towels that were more likely affected by bacteria are the damp ones or those in households where meat was eaten.

"The data indicated that unhygienic practices while handling non-vegetarian food could be common in the kitchen," lead author Dr Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal was reported saying.

As the spread of bacteria can lead to food poisoning, the scientists recommend to wash or change dish towels frequently, otherwise dry them out before reusing.

"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," she added.