Study shines light on microorganism hotspots

Think the door knobs and fridge handles are the germiest places in the kitchen? Think again.

recent study by Michigan-based NSF International, a nonprofit that provides health standards and audits, found the vegetable and meat compartments refrigerators, blender gaskets, can openers and rubber spatulas were most likely to play host to bacteria, including potentially harmful strains such as E. coli and Salmonella.

In an interview with the New York Times, NSF International microbiologist Lisa Yakas said they hoped the study would help prevent foodborne illness by highlighting where bacteria could be hiding out.

The study looked at 14 swab samples taken from the kitchens of 20 families. Researchers also asked the families what part of the kitchen they considered the dirtiest. The most common answer? The microwave keypad, the Times notes.

However, the results told a much different story – Salmonella and Listeria in vegetable compartments; E. coli, yeast and mold in rubber spatulas; and SalmonellaE. coli, yeast and mold in blender gaskets.

Often, these are places missed by cleaning – blenders aren’t always fully dissembled for washing, nor are spatulas with detachable heads.

Each year, one is six Americans (or about 48 million people) get some type of foodborne illness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

NSF provides some tips on its website on how to remedy these bacterial hideouts. Check it out here.

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