19.5.2015

Underestimated risk: health hazards due to a lack of kitchen hygiene

100,000 officially reported cases of life-threatening infections in Germany and an inestimable number of unreported cases: the World Health Day initiated by the WHO was used by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) as an occasion to point out the hazards due to a lack of kitchen hygiene.

Food of animal origin such as eggs, meat, fish or milk, but also vegetables, fruit and salads, can transmit germs that are a threat to health. Salmonella, EHEC & Co. become hazardous if the rules of hygiene for storage and preparation, but also in the kitchen in general (cleaning of handles, work surfaces, kitchen utensils and towels) are not adhered to consistently, and they are transmitted to humans.

The problem is international: As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) observed, there are increasingly new health hazards caused by bacteria on foods.

Insufficient knowledge about the importance of kitchen hygiene – especially for people over 60 – was documented by a study at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA). Elderly, pregnant people and children belong to the groups particularly at risk.

Kitchen utensils and devices made of plastic with an antimicrobial treatment that prevents the growth of bacteria are making an active contribution to kitchen hygiene.

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