Doctor's Note

Since so few restaurant and deli workers wash their hands (see Restaurant Worker Hand Washing and Handwashing Compliance of Retail Deli Workers), it should come as no surprise that anything they handle can become contaminated. Most meat is contaminated fecal bacteria (see Fecal Bacteria Survey), in fact, so much so that children can pick up infections by just touching the outside of meat packaging. See Meat-Borne Infection Risk from Shopping Carts. More on food poisoning here and a thousand other topics here.

For more context, check out my associated blog post:  Probiotics and Diarrhea

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Since so few restaurant and deli workers wash their
    hands (see Restaurant
    Worker Hand Washing
    and Handwashing
    Compliance of Retail Deli Workers
    ), it should come as no surprise
    that anything they handle can become contaminated. Most meat is contaminated
    fecal bacteria as well (see Fecal
    Bacteria Survey
    ), in fact so much so that children can pick up
    infections by just touching the outside of meat packaging. See Meat-Borne
    Infection Risk from Shopping Carts
    . More on foodborne
    illness here
    and a thousand other topics
    here
    .    

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    When I was a young lad my Uncle would tell me he laundered his money.  Now I know why.
    No he wasn’t obtaining money illegally, he was a germaphobe.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670735069 Tan Truong

      I’m also a bit of a germaphobe, so that’s why I wouldn’t put money into my laundry.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PGMDQYLIP27TINVLRALRU3KMBA PaulC

    I’ve also read that larger denominations of “filthy lucre” in the U.S. are almost universally contaminated with traces of cocaine.

  • http://poxacuatl.wordpress.com/ Strix

    This reminds me of why I never put my precious veggies onto the supermarket checkout counters. After seeing dripped blood from someone’s meat package all over it and the cashier wiping it off, I decided it might not be a good idea!
    I always bag my foods — even if I’m not going to be eating the skins or will be washing them — to keep them protected. As it is, my food has been handled more than I’d like already.
    The money thing is a good reminder too. Paper and coin always seemed dirty to me anyway.

    • Thea

      Strix:  You raise a great point.  I’ve been trying to save resources by not using the plastic bags to hold fruits and veggies which I pick up at the grocery store.  But then those foods end up directly on the conveyor belt–AND get touched by the people who are touching money.

      I have purchased plenty of those reusable produce bags, but keep forgetting to bring them into the store with me.  I think it is high time that I start making the effort.  I’m already bringing my own reusable large grocery bags.  Time to start bringing in the produce bags too. 

      Thanks for the push.

      • http://poxacuatl.wordpress.com/ Strix

         I know! I hate those plastic baggies, but use them when I failed to bring enough cloth bags from home.
        You might try making your own, Thea :^). Do you sew, knit, or crochet? They are super-easy to make!

        • Thea

          Alas.  The most I have ever done with a needle is try to sew a button and that didn’t work out so well… 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670735069 Tan Truong

      Exactly my new mentality. People always laugh at me when I’m at home and don’t want to touch money, and tell the kids over and over to wash their hands after handling it.

  • Sue

    Australia’s money is cleaner because their bank notes are made from a non porous polymer rather than paper. I think all countries should do this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670735069 Tan Truong

    I used to go to a Mr. Submarine and watch this guy try to save gloves by handling the subs with one hand and money with the other. On closer observation, I’ve noticed he ended up cross contaminating the money and food anyway. So after I mentioned this to him, I had him put on new gloves for me every time.