By Regie Simmons, Men’s Physique Competitor
Stop! Before you make that next healthy smoothie, you might want to ensure that you are not following a recipe for illness.
Data recently released from a household germ study, concluded that blenders were one of the most contaminated appliances in your entire home. In fact, blenders outranked the microwave keypad, which study participants believed to be the most likely source of household contamination.
Blenders were third on the list, preceded only by refrigerator water dispensers and rubber spatulas as the “germiest” items in the kitchen.
Researchers from the Applied Research Center (ARC) undertook this study to identify equipment within the home that harbored pathogens that cause foodborne illness. The researchers analyzed 14 common kitchen items for the presence of four different types of microorganisms: E. coli, Salmonella, yeast and mold, and Listeria.
Where were the most common pathogens found? Here’s a short list:
- Refrigerator water dispenser
- Rubber spatula
- Refrigerator vegetable compartment
- Refrigerator ice dispenser
- Refrigerator meat compartment
- Knife block
- Food storage container with rubber seal
- Can opener
- Refrigerator insulating seal
Many cities across the country dispatch health inspectors to monitor the food safety of restaurants and eateries open to the public. In addition to providing these records online, some cities require restaurants to post their most recent health inspection grades prominently in the windows of their establishment. These grades serve notice to all, regarding the quality of that restaurant’s cleanliness.
Unfortunately, a similar safety system does not exist for private homes, which are the source of 20 percent of all food-related illnesses. Such illnesses are usually caused by the improper handling, preparation and/or storage of foods like fruits, vegetables, and meats.
“Consumers are increasingly concerned about the safety and quality of their food, but often don’t realize that they may be the cause of foodborne illness in their own homes, due to improper cleaning of kitchenware and appliance,” says Rob Donofrio, Ph.D. Director of NSF International’s Applied Research Center in a press release. “Products that come in direct contact with food must be designed and maintained properly to prevent germ growth.”
According to the CDC roughly 1 in 6 Americans or 48 million people will get sick from food, 128,000 will be hospitalized and 3,000 will die of foodborne diseases. In most cases “bad food” will result in one or more of the following conditions:
- Upset stomach
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
Here are several tips to protect yourself—from yourself:
- Clean vegetable and meat compartments on a regular basis. Use a clean sponge or soft cloth to wash the bin with a mild detergent mixed with warm water.
- Completely disassemble and clean the blender after each use. Use a clean sponge or soft cloth to wash each component of the blender, including the rubber gasket. Blender components can also be cleaned in a dishwasher.
- Can openers should be cleaned with a mild detergent and warm water or placed in a dishwasher after each use.
- Dissemble rubber spatulas and clean—many have a detachable handle. Clean both parts with detergent and water or place in a dishwasher.
- Rubber seals on food storage containers should be cleaned on a regular basis with detergent and water.
The germs that were found on the aforementioned kitchen items come in direct contact with raw foods, which necessitate the need for frequent cleaning. The reality is that food-related illness caused by foods prepared at home can be greatly reduced with a little soap and water.