You expect to be spoilt if you're being taken out for dinner, but not for the food to be so. Well, according to a new survey by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), dishcloths used in restaurants and takeaways are all too often the cause of the latter.
The HPA tested 133 dishcloths from kitchens across the north-east of England and found that more than half of them were "unacceptable", carrying - brace yourselves - faecal bacteria, Listeria, E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus (we're not entirely sure what the the last one means, but it sounds pretty grim).
Lead researcher Dr John Piggott said that the HPA had given advice to the premises visited and would revisit them in the future to ensure standards had improved. He said: "Although many disinfected their cloths with bleach or other disinfectants, soaking does not remove the food on which the bacteria grow."
We imagine Mr Ramsey might have found a rather more blunt way to phrase it.
The current advice is for restaurants is to use disposable cloths, change them regularly, and to use different cloths for areas where raw meat is prepared - didn't we learn this back in Home Ec?
Dr Paul Cosford from the HPA, added: "The findings indicate problems with poor hygiene practices.
"Exposure to these harmful bacteria can cause food poisoning which is unpleasant for most people but for some - particularly the very young, very old, and pregnant women - it can have serious consequences."
Eaten somewhere really great (and really clean!) recently, add your recommendations below...
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