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Infection Control

Lunchboxes carry more than lunch

February 17, 2012
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RALEIGH, NC — The lunchboxes of Exploris Middle School students were revealed to be carriers of fecal bacteria, mold and Listeria, according to WRAL-TV.

As part of an investigation through a local TV station and North Caroline State University, more than 100 lunchboxes were tested for various forms of bacteria by graduate students, the article stated.

According to the article, half of the lunchboxes tested were positive for low levels of Staphylococcus, while three percent tested positive for Listeria.

Leeann Jaykus, a professor of food, bioprocessing and nutrition science at N.C. State who oversaw the test, said the biggest surprise – and a legitimate health concern — was that more than a dozen lunchboxes tested had fecal coliform, the article noted.

The study points to improper handwashing as the likely source for the fecal contamination, the article added.

"It definitely wasn''t as a big of a concern before. Now, I''m definitely going to go back, or when I go home, I''m going to wash my lunchbox," eighth-grader Cathryn Flint said.

Click here to read the complete article.

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