Although they may be considered the most immaculate spaces, homes are the places with the highest number of pathogenic microorganisms that are identified as being responsible for fifty to eighty percent of diarrheal and respiratory diseases.
Scientific studies by the National Laboratory for Food Safety Research of the Center for Food and Development Research (CIAD) revealed that, beyond public places, homes, offices, and schools are spaces prone to the proliferation of infections.
After more than five years of research, the specialists carried out laboratory tests and reported that the kitchen, more than the bathroom, is the place in the home where microorganisms are most concentrated and, therefore, where the proliferation of infections is most susceptible.
Cristóbal Chaidez Quiroz, the coordinator of the laboratory, explained in an interview with Notimex that food preparation is a process associated with contamination, so even though extreme cleaning measures are carried out, there are actions that are commonly performed that are "breeding grounds" for bacteria. In addition to kitchen utensils, the objects with the highest number of pathogenic bacteria are door keys and knobs, as well as the telephone handset and television control.
For example, the traditional use of a container to prepare soap, which is used to leave the fiber with which the dishes are washed. What is being generated, is cross-contamination, because the food residues remain in the water and expand every time the scouring pad is used. On average, a sponge contains 7.2 million bacteria, which are left in the containers used to prepare and serve food.
To avoid this degree of contamination, it would be sufficient to add two drops of concentrated chlorine to 250 milliliters of water for five minutes, and then immerse the sponge or cloth in this mixture. It is necessary to "sterilize" the scouring pad (as long as it is not made of aluminum) by putting it in the oven for two minutes, as well as replacing it every two or three weeks.
The researcher and his team also found that the utensils that most harbor pathogenic bacteria in the kitchen are rags and cutting boards, whether made of wood or plastic.
About the latter, he suggested having more than one cutting board, and assigning each one to each food group; that is, for meats, for fruits, and vegetables. It is necessary to wash and brush them with hot water, without using chlorine, because it is inactive with wood.
It is necessary to wash fruits and vegetables for at least thirty seconds, as well as to brush those with rough skin, such as melons. As for lettuce and all leaf vegetables, each leaf needs to be washed separately with chlorine or disinfectant.
To prevent the spread of bacteria, the refrigerator, another indispensable element in the kitchen, should be kept at a temperature between 4 and 5 degrees centigrade, and cleaned and disinfected twice a week; products based on chlorine or citrus extracts are recommended.
Viruses survive for more than 24 hours on objects and hands, and it is estimated that seven out of ten people who have a viral infection have the virus on their hands.
When a person coughs or sneezes, saliva droplets are expelled at a distance of one meter; air and particles are expelled at a speed of more than 120 kilometers per hour and spread on surfaces.
Gastrointestinal diseases are a global problem associated with the contamination of food during preparation.
During the handling of contaminated food, pathogenic microorganisms such as Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Hepatitis A virus, and Norovirus can be distributed on hands and contact surfaces, as well as on the utensils used for their preparation.
Throughout our lives, we live daily with not just thousands, but millions of diverse microbial groups that swarm in the kitchen, in the bathroom at home, on school desks, as well as on the desk and keyboard of the office computer. The expert suggested frequent cleaning and disinfection of the different spaces in the home, the space where families live together the most.