U.K. Restaurants Harbor Bacteria

LONDON, Sept. 15 (UPI) — A British health watchdog group says more than half the cleaning cloths in U.K. restaurant and fast-food kitchens had high levels of bacteria.

The Health Protection Agency studied the cleaning cloths used to wipe tables and kitchen surfaces at 120 different restaurants, fast-food outlets and cafes in the northeast of England, The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

Of the cloths tested, 56 per cent contained what the group called “unacceptable” levels of bacteria.

The most common bacteria was Enterobacteriaceae, found on 86 cloths, E. coli, found on 21 cloths, Staphylococcus aureus, found on six cloths and Listeria discovered on five cloths.

“Exposure to this 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,” Dr Paul Cosford, HPA executive director of health protection services, said.

Many restaurants were either ignorant of hygiene practices or frequently failed to take basic health precautions, the agency said.

The restaurants and outlets in the survey were given hygiene advice and warned they would be revisited, the Telegraph said.

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