Seasoning jars are more contaminated by microbes than kitchen trash lids – News

Common on shelves and drawers in many kitchens, seasoning pots are no longer just a form of organization and have taken on a new (not so good) function: a probable spreader of diseases.

A study carried out in the USA and published in the Journal of Food Protection showed that these utensils have more microorganisms harmful to health than, for example, trash can lids in the kitchen.

“Aside from more obvious surfaces like cutting boards, trash can lids, and fridge handles, here’s something else. [potes de tempero] what you need to pay attention to when trying to be clean and hygienic in your kitchen,” warns Professor Donald Schaffner of Rutgers University in New Jersey.


Contagion of these containers occurs through what scientists call cross-contamination, which occurs when microbes are transferred from one substance, object or, in this case, from food to another.

“Our research shows that any seasoning container you touch when preparing raw meat can be contaminated. You’ll want to be aware of this during or after meal preparation,” says Schaffner.

There are several diseases that are transmitted by food, such as acute gastroenteritis and diarrhea, caused by bacteria campylobacter and non-typhoid salmonella, respectively.

In the US alone, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), food is the cause of nearly 2 million infections a year.

Among the foods responsible for a significant portion of these cases of infection are: chicken, turkey, beef and pork.


The study

In the study, researchers followed 371 adults as they prepared a turkey burger and salad recipe, of various sizes, and in various kitchens. Participants were unaware of what would be examined.

To simulate the “path” of a pathogen, the scientists also placed a bacteriophage – a virus that is harmless to humans – called MS2, in the meat.

After preparing the meals, the team rubbed the kitchen utensils, cleaning areas and other surfaces in the environment to verify, or not, the presence of the bacteriophage.


After the analysis, the researchers found that the most frequently contaminated objects were the spice jars — about 48% of the samples of these objects had evidence of MS2 contagion.

“We were surprised because we hadn’t seen evidence of contamination from the spice container before,” says Schaffner.

What caught the team’s attention was that the percentage of contamination found in these objects was very different from that observed in other objects and locations.

The second and third most contaminated utensils were cutting boards and trash can lids, respectively. Faucet handles were the least contaminated in the study.

“Most research on cross-contamination of kitchen surfaces from handling raw meat or poultry products has focused on kitchen cutting boards or faucets and neglected surfaces such as spice containers, trash can lids, and other kitchen utensils. This makes this study and similar studies by members of this group more comprehensive than previous studies,” says the professor.

Seasoning pots need not, however, no longer be part of kitchens. The researchers explain that proper food handling can combat cross-contamination.

This handling includes consistent hand washing, proper cooking of food and constant cleaning of kitchen surfaces and utensils.


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