More than half the cleaning cloths used in restaurants and take-away kitchens have been found to contain unsatisfactory levels of bacteria, an investigation by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has concluded.
Its team sampled 133 cloths from 120 establishments in the North-East of England and found that 56% contained unacceptable levels of bacteria.
Most common were enterobacteriaceae (found on 86 cloths), e.coli (21 cloths), staphylococcus aureus (six cloths) and listeria (five cloths).
Although the HPA’s recommended advice is for restaurants to use disposable cloths that are changed regularly, the study found that only one-third of the catering premises reviewed adhered to this.
The remaining two-thirds used reusable cloths and 15% were unsure as to how often these were replaced.