Port Louis, June 10 : The humble kitchen towels used for multi-purpose tasks can put your households at potential risk of bacteria that cause food poisoning, say researchers.

The findings showed that the towels used for wiping utensils, drying hands, holding hot utensils, wiping/cleaning surfaces, had a higher bacterial count.

Coliforms (Escherichia coli) was found to be higher in humid towels, multipurpose towels and in towels from families having non-vegetarian diets.

The presence of these potential pathogens from the kitchen towels indicates that they could be responsible for cross-contamination in the kitchen and could lead to food poisoning, the researchers said.

"Our study demonstrates that the family composition and hygienic practices in the kitchen affected the microbial load of kitchen towels," said lead author Susheela D. Biranjia-Hurdoyal, senior lecturer, at the University of Mauritius.

"We also found that diet, type of use and moist kitchen towels could be very important in promoting the growth of potential pathogens responsible for food poisoning," she added.

Further, S. aureus was isolated at a higher rate from families of lower socio-economic status and those with children.

Coliform and S. aureus were detected at significantly higher prevalence from families with non-vegetarian diets.

Escherichia coli is a normal flora of human intestine and it is released in large numbers in human feces. The presence of Escherichia coli indicates possible fecal contamination and lack of hygiene practices.

"The data indicated that unhygienic practices while handling non-vegetarian food could be common in the kitchen," Biranjia-Hurdoyal said.

For the study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Georgia, the team collected total of 100 kitchen towels after one month of use.

Out of these 49 per cent had bacterial growth which increased in number with extended family, presence on children and increasing family size.

Out of these 49 samples positive for bacterial growth, 36.7 per cent grew coliforms, 36.7 per cent Enterococcus spp and 14.3 per cent S. aureus.

"Humid towels and multipurpose usage of kitchen towels should be discouraged. Bigger families with children and elderly members should be especially vigilant to hygiene in the kitchen," Biranjia-Hurdoyal suggested.

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New Delhi (PTI): Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday condemned the attack on former US President Donald Trump, and said such violence has no place in any democracy and civilised society.

Trump was injured after being shot in the ear during the apparent assassination attempt at an election rally in Pennsylvania after which a male attacker was shot and killed by a member of the Secret Service.

In a post on X, Kharge said, "Deeply appalled by the attack on former US President Donald Trump. I strongly condemn this heinous act."

"Such violence has no place in any Democracy and civilised society. As India stands with the American people, we offer our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased," the Congress chief said.

Trump, 78, was hit by a bullet in the upper part of his right ear when the suspected shooter fired multiple shots toward the stage from an elevated position outside of the rally venue in Butler on Saturday, the US Secret Service said.

The attacker killed one spectator at the rally, and two others were critically injured.

Secret Service agents swarmed Trump and ducked behind the podium. Blood could be seen on his right ear of Trump as agents surrounded him and led him off the stage to a waiting vehicle to whisk him away.