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Don’t Dry Your Hands With Bacteria

June 14, 2018

Think twice about using that towel shared by all the employees in your company kitchen or break room.

A researcher from the University of Mauritius who analyzed bacteria cultured from 100 kitchen towels found significant growth on 49 of them, according to a study presented at last week’s annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology and reported by CNN.

Almost 75 percent of the contaminated towels grew bacteria normally found in the intestines, such as E. coli and Enterococcus. Another 14 percent grew Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) bacteria normally found on human skin and in the respiratory tract. All of these bacteria are linked to food-borne illnesses.

S. aureus was most commonly found on towels in kitchens frequented by a sizeable number of people, while the intestinal bacteria were more likely to be found in kitchens where meat was prepared. All types of bacteria also were more likely to grow on wet towels compared to dry ones, and on towels that were used for many purposes, such as wiping utensils and surfaces and drying hands.

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