Food borne illness lurking around your kitchen. The NY Times explores…

Food borne illness lurking around your kitchen. The NY Times explores…

What do blenders, spatulas, cutting boards and even your regularly used can opener have in common? Often times, when we do not feel well after a prepared meal, these devices may be the cause. The NY Times investigates…

Where Germs Hide in Your Kitchen

By ANAHAD O’CONNOR
Beware of the blender: It may be a bacteria trap.

So says a new report that looked at the places and appliances in household kitchens that are most – and least – likely to harbor germs like E. coli and salmonella. The report found that some of the areas people considered most likely to be contaminated, like microwave keypads, were not, while some they had never thought of, like refrigerator water dispensers and the rubber gasket on most blenders, were among the worst.

The findings suggest that many people who try to keep a tidy kitchen may be overlooking some of the more problematic areas, said Lisa Yakas, a microbiologist with NSF International, a nonprofit public health group that published the report. The goal of the study, Ms. Yakas said, was not to frighten the public, but to provide some insight on the best ways to reduce the spread of food-borne illness in the kitchen.

“What we really wanted to do was to just make them more aware of these places that they might not have even thought of,” Ms. Yakas said.

Research suggests that the kitchen is a particularly important place to practice good hygiene. Nearly 10 million cases of food poisoning occur in the United States every year, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five outbreaks of food-borne illness are caused by food that people eat in their homes. Leafy vegetables and other plants are responsible for more than half of all cases, and about a third of all the fatal cases are caused by contaminated poultry.

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