The top six germiest items in your home
Did you know that there are more germs in your kitchen than your bathroom?
Research shows that more than 20 percent of foodborne illness outbreaks result from food prepared in our homes. A foodborne disease outbreak occurs when two or more people get sick after consuming the same contaminated food or drink.
Every year, about 48 million Americans, roughly one in six people in the United States, become ill from eating contaminated food. Preschoolers, senior citizens and those with compromised immune systems have a higher risk of getting a food borne illness resulting in more serious complications.
Food safety experts from NSF International point to improper food handling, preparation and storage as causes for food borne illness outbreaks. Most foodborne illnesses are not part of a recognized outbreak but outbreaks provide important information on how germs spread, which foods cause illness, and how to prevent infection.
NSF is a public safety organization whose goal is to protect and improve human health around the world. NSF was founded in 1944 as the National Sanitation Foundation and changed their name to NSF International in 1990 as they expanded their services beyond sanitation and into global markets. The letters, NSF, do not represent any specific words today.
A 2011 germ study conducted by NSF scientists found more germs in the kitchens than in the bathrooms of homes. In a 2013 NSF germ study specific items in the kitchen were targeted and that is when researchers determined the six germiest items.
NSF International 2013 Household Germ Study scientists determined that the six germiest items in homes that can cause sickness were:
- the refrigerator vegetable compartments
- the refrigerator meat compartments
- blender gaskets
- can openers
- rubber spatulas
- food storage containers with rubber seals
Lessons learned from this research include:
- Follow manufacturers’ directions when cleaning kitchen tools and appliances.
- Blenders should be disassembled and the gasket pulled apart from the base and cleaned.
- Refrigerator vegetable and meat compartments need to be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
- All kitchen tools including can openers need washing after each use.
- Rubber spatulas that are detachable should be pulled off the handle to be cleaned.
- Rubber seals in food storage container should be thoroughly cleaned.
- Know how to clean kitchen items found in your kitchen.
You may also be interested in knowing that scientists discovered that sponges and coffee reservoirs were in the top 10 germiest places in the home.
Michigan State University Extension suggests being very diligent in cleaning kitchen appliances and utensils to keep prevent foodborne illnesses.