IF you or someone in your family has had a stomach bug recently it could be your kitchen appliances that are making you sick.
The recently-released National Science Foundation International Germ Study has listed the top six places where salmonella, E.coli and other nasties thrive in your kitchen, and they are items used almost every day.
At the top of the list of potentially hazardous kitchen items is the vegetable storage unit at the bottom of your fridge where salmonella, E.coli, yeast and mould are quick to form if the storage bins aren’t regularly emptied and cleaned.
The refrigerator meat compartment was identified as the second most likely place where common pathogens can flourish.
A surprising addition to the list was the blender, which, if not properly cleaned properly, can promote the growth of E.coli, salmonella, mould and yeast.
Other hazards listed in the top ten were plastic food storage containers with a rubber seal, the refrigerator water and ice dispensers and the kitchen knife block where food particles can become wedged in the storage slots.
Can openers and plastic spatulas also made the list.
Western NSW Local Health District health promotion officer Kerry Smith said many people did not realise a single bacteria that they could not see could turn into millions in a very short time.
“Many people also don’t realise that food can already be contaminated with low levels of bacteria when purchased and cross contamination can easily occur,” she said.
Ms Smith said most fruit and vegetables, if they are premium quality when purchased, could be safely stored in the refrigerator for a week or even longer if they were not contaminated before storage.
When it comes to meat storage Ms Smith recommended fresh meat only be stored in the fridge for one or two days.
She said householders should take an Esky or cooler bag to the supermarket to store cold foods on the trip home to stop deterioration prior to storage.
Ms Smith backs the findings of the study that food blendersmust be dismantled before being washed in hot soapy water.
She says the presence of E.coli in various parts of the kitchen showed that people were not washing their hands properly after going to the toilet and beginning food preparation or serving.
With plastic storage containers identified as problem areas for nasties to flourish, Ms Smith said the problem is with the seal.
“The rubber seal needs to be removed and the whole item thoroughly cleaned.