"Our study demonstrates that the family composition and hygienic practices in the kitchen affected the microbial load of kitchen towels," said Dr. Biranjia-Hurdoyal."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," she said.
49% of the kitchen towels collected in the study had bacterial growth which increased in number with extended family, presence on children and increasing family size. The towels for multipurpose usage (wiping utensils, drying hands, holding hot utensils, wiping/cleaning surfaces) had a higher bacterial count than single-use towels and humid towels showed higher bacterial count than the dry ones. Out of the 49 samples which were positive for bacterial growth, 36.7% grew coliforms, 36.7% Enterococcus spp and 14.3% S. aureus.
Study - Role - Kitchen - Towels - Cross-contamination
"In this study, we investigated the potential role of kitchen towels in cross-contamination in the kitchen and various factors affecting the microbial profile and load of kitchen towels," said Dr. Susheela D. Biranjia-Hurdoyal, Senior Lecturer, Department of Health Sciences, University of Mauritius, lead author on the study.
A total of 100 kitchen towels were collected after one month of use. The researchers cultured the bacteria and identified them by standard biochemical tests. They also determined the bacterial load on the towels.
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