Spice rack revealed as germiest place in the kitchen – and it’s more likely to get you sick than the bin lid | World News

You’ve probably heard horror stories about the germs lurking on your kitchen sponge, and maybe you’re a bit squeamish about touching the bin lid.

But your spice rack could be the quiet culprit for making you sick.

That’s according to a study commissioned by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

When it comes to cross-contamination, spice containers are the life and soul of the party.

While other surfaces showed evidence of contamination less than 20% of the time, spice containers were contaminated nearly half the time.

The study examined cross-contamination by asking participants to make a turkey burger patty and a salad.

Participants were not told researchers would be examining their food safety behaviour until after they had prepared the meal.

The turkey contained a “tracer organism” called MS2 so the researchers could track cross-contamination.

The researchers tested surfaces including knives, chopping boards, tap handles and sponges, and for all of them found no more than one-fifth tested positive for MS2.

But when they tested the spice containers, 48% were contaminated with MS2.

This came as a surprise even to the researchers.

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Co-author Donald Schaffner, professor at Rutgers University’s department of food science, said most research into cross-contamination has looked at chopping boards and taps, neglecting other things touched during cooking such as spice jars and utensils.

Cross-contamination of spice jars has not been recorded before – but Prof Schaffner said this should be a reminder to home cooks to wipe them down after cooking.

The most unhygienic spots in the kitchen:
• Spice containers
• Cutting board
• Bin lid

The spot with the least cross-contamination:
• Tap handle

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