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Int J Food Microbiol. 2003 Aug 25;85(3):213-26.

The survival of foodborne pathogens during domestic washing-up and subsequent transfer onto washing-up sponges, kitchen surfaces and food.

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PHLS Food Microbiology Collaborating Laboratory, Division of Food Animal Science, School of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford House, Lower Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU, UK.


In this study, the survival of Salmonella, Campylobacter and Escherichia coli O157: H7, when exposed to a range of constant temperatures (47-60 degrees C), in hard or soft water, in the presence/absence of detergent (0-0.3%) and organic matter, and during drying, was investigated. Further experiments used a washing-up process simulation, where soiled dishes contaminated with bacteria were washed in a bowl of warm water containing detergent. In addition, this study considered the risk of bacterial transfer onto (1) sterile dishes and sponges via contaminated water, (2) kitchen surfaces wiped with a contaminated sponge, (3) items placed in direct contact with a contaminated kitchen surface, (4) food placed on a contaminated dish or (5) dishes from contaminated food. A proportion of dishes remained contaminated with all pathogen types after a typical washing-up. Water hardness did not appear to affect survival. E. coli, and to a lesser extent Salmonella, survived towel- or air-drying on dishes and after towel-drying the cloth became contaminated on every occasion, regardless of the test organism. A proportion of sterile dishes washed after contaminated dishes became contaminated with pathogens but transfer from dishes onto food was rare. Washing-up sponges frequently became contaminated with pathogens. The results of this study highlight the potential for survival and cross contamination of food borne pathogens in the kitchen environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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