Your kitchen may be hiding some unwelcome guests. A recent study from the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) found potentially dangerous germs on a number of everyday cooking items, putting you at risk of serious illness.
In the study, researchers examined dozens of samples taken from 20 Americans kitchens. They discovered that refrigerators often harbor some particularly nasty microscopic activity. Chilled meat and vegetable drawers were found to contain E. coli, salmonella, listeria, mold and yeast, and refrigerator water dispensers had some of the highest germ counts of all. Rubber spatulas and food storage containers with rubber seals were other big offenders, often carrying E. coli, salmonella, yeast and mold.
"Consumers are increasingly concerned about the safety and quality of their food but often don't realize that they may be the cause of food-borne illness in their own homes," said the director of NSF International's Applied Research Center, Dr. Rob Donofrio. "Products that come in direct contact with food must be designed and maintained properly to prevent germ growth."
Donofrio said the quality of a product and the materials used to make it are crucial factors in preventing germ growth. Unlike many porous substances, like granite and wood, stainless steel doesn't absorb stains and is resistant to bacteria, resulting in fewer germs overall. For this reason, HGTV recommends installing countertops made of stainless steel, which it calls the good-looking, hardworking leader of the kitchen metal pack. Popular decorating site Houzz.com also says that stainless steel is "king" when it comes to kitchen sinks.
To further minimize germs in your kitchen, invest in a stainless steel bowl to store fresh fruit, swap out your plastic or glass butter glass for a handsome, naturally hygienic option and toss dirty rubber utensils in favor of some bacteria-resistant serving tongs.