Can you name the germiest thing in your kitchen?

Kimberly Bean
Kimberly Bean
Published on October 12, 2017

Which surface in your kitchen the biggest source of cross-contamination?

The answer may surprise you: It’s your hand towels.

According to a study conducted by researchers at Kansas State University, hand towels were a leading cause of the spread of germs and other contaminants in the kitchen. Participants in the study prepared a meal in a campus kitchen using raw chicken or beef and a ready-to-eat fruit salad. To trace the levels of contamination, a harmless bacteria was placed on the meat.

While they prepared the meal, researchers saw participants handling the towels, even when they weren’t washing their hands. They used the towels after washing their hands, and even when they washed their hands properly, their hands were re-contaminated by the dirty towels, researchers said.

There’s another surface bringing contaminants into your kitchen: Your cellphone or tablet.

“We often take our cellphones and tablets into the kitchen, but what about all the other places we take them?” asked lead researcher and food safety specialist Jeannie Sneed. “Think of how many times you see someone talking on their cellphone in places like the bathroom, where microorganisms such as norovirus and E. coli are commonly found.”

Want to reduce the contamination? Wash towels after each meal, researchers said, or use paper towels and throw them away. Wipe your cell phone or tablet with a disinfectant before bringing it into the kitchen when you cook.

Read more about this study at Southern Living.

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