E. coli on Cutting Boards: Hospital Kitchens Implicated
A new study has been published, suggesting that many kitchens – including those in hospitals and those at home – are prime breeding grounds for drug-resistant E. coli bacteria, and we should all take precautions to prevent the spread.
For the study, which was published in the May edition of the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, researchers tested 298 cutting boards, 154 of which came from hospital kitchens, with 144 coming from household kitchens, before they had been washed, and noted which types of meat had been prepared on each cutting board. In addition, they also tested 20 pairs of gloves used by hospital kitchen employees to handle raw poultry.
One possibly surprising finding came from the researchers’ bacterial analysis, which showed that about 6.5% of the cutting boards used to prepare raw poultry in hospital kitchens were contaminated with E. coli, whereas 3.5% of those taken from household kitchens carried the bacteria. Another surprising finding; those cutting boards that had been used in the preparation of meat other than poultry showed no evidence of E. coli contamination. Less surprising was that exactly half of the gloves used by kitchen employees tested positive for E. coli contamination.
Other test results are less surprising. They found that hands and cutting boards were among the most common modes of bacterial contamination. They recommended that all cooks, whether cooking for families or hospital patients, be exceptionally vigilant when preparing poultry. Hands and cutting boards should always be thoroughly washed after every preparation of raw poultry, to avoid contamination, and no other foods should come in contact with hands or cutting boards until they are thoroughly washed, in order to avoid cross-contamination.
The researchers concluded that the transmission of the drug-resistant strains of E. coli bacteria can happen anywhere, including hospitals and home kitchens, and that hand hygiene was an incredibly important factor in preventing the transmission of these bacteria.
It is important that all food preparers keep their hands and preparation areas as clean and safe as possible at all times. It is troubling that this study shows that food contamination in a hospital is far more likely than contamination at home.
The Texas Food Poisoning Lawyers at Hill Law Firm have experience to deal with every food borne illness imaginable, including drug-resistant strains of E. coli. If you or a loved one has been stricken with any sort of food borne illness, please contact the Texas Food Poisoning Injury Lawyers at Hill Law Firm as soon as possible to begin an investigation and to protect your rights.