Kitchen a source of drug-resistant bacteria
SUMMARY: According to a new study, cutting boards used to prepare raw poultry can become contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as E. coli.
Posted: April 21, 2014
After being used to prepare raw poultry, cutting boards can become a ground zero for harmful drug-resistant bacteria, a study published in the May issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology found.
Livestock are sometimes given fodder laced with antibiotics to help them grow larger at a much quicker rate. Yet when bacteria are exposed to antibiotics more frequently, they may no longer respond to even the strongest strains of antibiotics. This makes infections in humans harder to treat.
"The spread of multidrug-resistant bacteria has been associated with the hospital setting, but these findings suggest that transmission of drug-resistant E. coli occurs both in the hospital and households," Dr. Andreas Widmer?, lead author of the study, explained. "Our findings emphasize the importance of hand hygiene, not only after handling raw poultry, but also after contact with cutting boards used in poultry preparation."
People need to up their immunity against these bacteria, and with TheraBreath oral care probiotics paired with consistent hand-washing, they can.
If other foods go on the boards before they are leaned - or even afterward if the cleaning isn't 100 percent effective - the foods run a high risk of getting contaminated, which could then be passed along to humans.
According to the World Health Organization, 75 percent of antibiotics sold are given to animals.
The new study was conducted by researchers from University Hospital Basel in Switzerland who collected cutting boards and used gloves from their hospital's kitchen, which prepares meals for 650 patients and medical staff daily. On top of that, Widmer and colleagues gathered cutting boards from kitchens in private homes in Switzerland, Germany and France, taking swabs for bacteria after the boards were used to prepare foods before they were cleaned.
Of the 154 cutting boards taken from the hospital kitchen, 10 tested positive for a type of drug-resistant E. coli bacteria - which is known to cause problems in the human digestive tract - compared to five of the 144 boards taken from homes. Researchers also found that 50 percent of hospital kitchen gloves were contaminated with this same microbe.
None of the cutting boards used in preparing beef, veal, pork, lamb, game or fish were contaminated with E. coli.
In Europe, growth-promoting antibiotics for animals are already banned, though they can still be used in livestock "therapeutically." The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the plan to phase out these antibitiocs in animals processed for meat in late 2013, but it will likely take some time before it reaches mainstream grocery stores. In the meantime, it's important to ensure our own sanitation and cleanliness.
While handling raw poultry, be sure to wash your hands constantly and avoid touching your mouth, which is an entry point for infections. Not only should you switch gloves when handling new foods, but wash the cutting board and other surfaces used in the process. These are often the epicenter of bacteria. What's more, TheraBreath probiotics can give your immunity a head start against these problems.