Kitchens have more harmful bacteria than bathrooms

June 26, 2008 in Food Safety, Nutrition Topics in the News

Kitchens have more harmful bacteria than bathrooms

Kitchen sinks, kitchen clean-up clothes and sponges have more germs than bathroom sinks, say researchers from Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, England.

In this new international study, environmental scientists swabbed 20 homes with children in each of seven regions, including the U.K., the U.S., Germany, Africa, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and India.

Three-quarters of kitchen cloths and sponges are heavily contaminated with harmful bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella.

Kitchen sinks harboured more bacteria than bathroom sinks. Forty-six percent of tested kitchen sinks had more than 100,000 bacteria per square centimetres, compared with 38 percent of bathroom sinks.

Researchers say the harmful bacteria were probably carried in by food, small children or pets.

E. coli and Salmonella can cause diarrhea or infections with flu-like symptoms that are especially dangerous to small children, the elderly and pregnant women.

Health Canada Statistics show that incidence of food-borne illness has been on the rise for over two decades. In 1996, more than 18,000 Canadians fell ill due to E. coli or other bacteria often found in food.

Food safety experts recommend sterilizing damp kitchen clothes and sponges with a one-minute high-powered blast in the microwave. Proper hand washing and use of disposable paper towels for clean-up can also help reduce the spread of bacteria.  

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.