Germiest Places in the Kitchen
Food poisoning is something that everyone dreads, but are we doing all we can to prevent illness? Each year, one in six Americans -- or 48 million people -- get sick from a foodborne illness resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A report from the nonprofit science organization NSF International suggests prevention starts with keeping your kitchen clean. Scientists analyzed common surfaces and appliances in our kitchens, and found an assortment of bacteria including major causes of foodborne illness.
You might be surprised at some of the places where disease-causing germs thrive. For this study, NSF enlisted 20 volunteer families to swab 14 common kitchen items: the blender, can opener, flatware storage tray, food storage containers with rubber seals, knife block, microwave keypad, pizza cutter, spatula, strainer and the refrigerator ice dispenser, water dispenser and meat and vegetable compartments. The NSF analysis was looking for four types of microorganisms linked to foodborne illness: E. coli, salmonella, yeast and mold, and listeria.
The presence of these items in the kitchen is considered a health risk, according to NSF, especially for those most susceptible to foodborne illness including pregnant women, older adults and people with a weakened immune system.
In no particular order, the six "germiest" items in the kitchen were the refrigerator vegetable and meat compartments, blender gasket, can opener, rubber spatula and rubber-sealed food storage container.
It is important to clean all items in the kitchen thoroughly. Items like blenders need to be taken apart when cleaned.