Dangerous bugs lurk in most dishcloths

The innocent-looking dishcloth on the draining board could be a killer. Nine in 10 home dishcloths harbour dangerous levels of stomach bugs, according to a government survey.

Research by environmental health officers suggests that people are more at risk of catching food poisoning from their own cleaning cloths than when they eat out. The Health Protection Agency checked restaurant dishcloths last year and found 56 per cent of them held food poisoning bugs, including E. coli and listeria.

When the Chartered Institute of Environment Health tested 100 home dishcloths this year the level of unhealthy bacteria was even higher. Its report suggests more emphasis be put on tackling food poisoning in the home. It advises dishcloths be washed regularly and not left lying on the sink.

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