Tea towel police? Britain’s kitchens so filthy they present health risk

Home cooking may, according to The Independent, be as popular as ever following the success of celebrity chefs on television. But amateur cooks appear to be less keen on kitchen hygiene.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-red-white-tea-towel-image11583462New research presented at the Institute of Food Science and Technology Conference in London from a questionnaire completed by 1,551 people found that not only are Britain’s kitchens so filthy that they present a health risk, but household chefs are woefully ignorant about food preparation hygiene.

Caveats: it’s a self-reported survey, which usually suck; and, the research needs to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

However, since it’s out there, what Professor Tony Hines and Nicole Patterson-Lett of Leatherhead Food Research found that people commonly forget to wash their hands, use dirty tea towels and drip germ-laden meat juices in places they should never be.

“I’m sure we’ve all got friends where you go round for dinner and you look at their tea towel and think: ‘My God, that’s disgusting, why don’t you get a new one?’ We don’t have a tea towel police, but we’re raising the issue,” said Hines.

In other cases, many people are unaware of the danger that their lack of basic hygiene poses to their health. Handling raw meat is always a no-no, for example, because it helps to spread germs around – which can cause food poisoning.

Patterson-Lett added: “If you then wipe your hands over the tea towel, having touched the chicken, and then a bit later you’re doing the washing-up with the same tea towel, then again you’re spreading the bacteria to the plates further. It just spreads. You’re not aware of it, you can’t see it.”

Two-thirds of consumers remove raw meat from the packet by hand – you’re meant to plunge a fork or other utensil into it or else tip it onto a chopping board – while three-quarters hold the meat while cutting it into pieces, rather than holding it in place with cutlery. Half of consumers are unaware that washing meat is bad because it splashes germs around the kitchen.