Tea towels pose risk of food poisoning

Published: 13 Jun 2018

A recent study has indicated that the multi-use of tea towels is putting households at risk of food poisoning. Scientists from the University of Mauritius examined 100 towels that had been used in homes for a month.

The multiple use of these towels for various tasks including cleaning and wiping surfaces, hand drying and the wiping of utensils used both for raw and cooked food items have resulted in food poisoning microorganisms such as E.coli and staphylococcus being isolated in laboratory tests.

Your business can be kept safe from the risk of food poisoning by implementing the following guidance:

  • Clean paper towel should be used for the hand drying process
  • To reduce the risk of cross contamination and spreading of bacteria during the cleaning process, single use towel is the best option
  • If tea towels are to be used, these should be changed regularly and kept in good condition
  • Reusable cloths should be disinfected or washed at 60C (140F) after each use


Additional guidance such as using the correct chopping boards and utensils for handling of raw and cooked meat, cleaning surfaces after every use and adhering to the correct contact times when sanitising surfaces will also greatly reduce the risk of cross contamination.

If you require further advice and support on food safety requirements, please contact CSC.