Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Don’t cut corners when it comes to clean knives

Date:
December 6, 2012
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Poor hand hygiene is often thought to be the main cause of outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. Although it is well recognized that utensils used for food preparation can harbor bacteria, a new study is the first to find that viruses can just as easily be spread by cross-contamination from utensils such as knives and graters.

Poor hand hygiene is often thought to be the main cause of outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. Although it is well recognized that utensils used for food preparation can harbor bacteria, a new study by Qing Wang and her colleagues from the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, USA, is the first to find that viruses can just as easily be spread by cross-contamination from utensils such as knives and graters.

Their study is published in the Springer journal Food and Environmental Virology.

The leading cause of foodborne illness in the US is currently Norovirus, with produce and ready-to-eat foods being identified as the main food types responsible for outbreaks. Previous research has shown that the prime time for food contamination occurs during preparation close to the time when food will be consumed. Although virus transfer between hands, produce and food-contact surfaces is known to occur readily at this point, to date there is little data on the potential role of kitchen utensils used for food preparation in this cross-contamination.

In this study, the researchers looked at the transfer of the Hepatitis A virus and Norovirus between a range of fruit and vegetables and different kitchen knives or flat steel coarse graters. Tests were done with uncontaminated utensils on contaminated produce and contaminated utensils on uncontaminated produce.

Results found that when using uncontaminated utensils, more than half of all knives and graters were contaminated after preparing the contaminated produce. Tests using a contaminated knife or grater very often resulted in contamination of the produce being cut or grated. In fact, after being used on one contaminated piece of produce, sterilized knives and graters were capable of cross-contaminating up to seven further pieces of produce that were chopped or grated afterwards.

As seen in previous studies, the level of contamination observed differed with produce used and type of virus. The authors suggest that the difference in the structure of produce surface may influence virus transfer as well as the binding affinities of the different viruses to produce. For example, the smooth surfaces of a honeydew melon transferred more Norovirus to knives than the rougher surface of a cantaloupe, but the opposite was observed for Hepatitis A virus.

This study demonstrates the ease with which viruses can transfer between produce and utensils using procedures commonly adopted in kitchens. This could pose a significant health risk. The authors conclude that ." .. great emphasis on utensils as virus vehicles should be placed, and it is important to provide knowledge and training for food workers and consumers to limit virus spread."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Qing Wang, Marilyn Erickson, Ynes R. Ortega, Jennifer L. Cannon. The Fate of Murine Norovirus and Hepatitis A Virus During Preparation of Fresh Produce by Cutting and Grating. Food and Environmental Virology, 2012; DOI: 10.1007/s12560-012-9099-4

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Don’t cut corners when it comes to clean knives." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121206121900.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2012, December 6). Don’t cut corners when it comes to clean knives. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121206121900.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Don’t cut corners when it comes to clean knives." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121206121900.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins