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If knives and graters are not cleaned after use, they can transfer germs from one food to another. This is the result of an investigation by the University of Georgia. In their laboratory, the American scientists had contaminated various types of fruit and vegetables with the widespread germs Escherichia coli and Salmonella. The products were then cut with a knife or rubbed with a grater without cleaning the utensils between the individual work steps. However, the authors emphasize that such bacteria are rare in fruits and vegetables.
Poor hygiene and improper food processing can lead to food infections. "Many are not aware that kitchen utensils and other surfaces can contribute to the spread of bacteria," the authors explain. The study results have confirmed that germs can spread to other products through the use of knives and graters. Interestingly, the extent was different depending on the type of fruit and vegetables. The bacteria were more likely to be transmitted when cutting inoculated tomatoes (43%) than with honeydew melon (17%), strawberry (15%), cucumber (7%) and cantaloupe melon (3%). When carrots are grated, the germs easily get onto other vegetables. The interrelationships need to be researched in more detail. However, one thing is certain: once a bacterium is in the food, it is difficult to remove it.
According to the scientists, consumers should also be careful with brushes and peeling knives. Another study has shown that cleaning with a brush or peeling melon, carrot and celery cannot remove the bacteria. However, it leads to contamination of the brush or the peeling knife - even when working under running water. "Clean kitchen appliances, work surfaces and kitchen utensils such as knives with hot water and detergent immediately after use," advises Harald Seitz, nutritionist from aid infodienst e. V. This also prevents food residues and impurities from drying out and forming invisible foci. Plastic boards are easier to clean than wooden boards. Meat, poultry and fish should be prepared separately from other foods. (Heike Kreutz)