Are Lemons Causing Bacteria In Restaurants?

When it comes to eating out, you really don't know how sanitary it is. Depending on someone you don't know to make our food and drinks is the risk we take. Restaurants are not always clean, and there are tons of bacteria lurking in the foods. If you enjoy a glass of water with lemon, then you'll be in shock at the bacteria found in lemons at restaurants.

Bacteria Found In Lemons 

Just one slice of lemon is loaded with tons of different types of bacteria. Making simple water with lemons is one of most unsanitary beverages in restaurants. Researchers tested 76 Lemons from 21 restaurants during 43 visits and discovered 70% of them had microbial growth. Before the beverage was even touched or drank researchers did the testing. Despite them not knowing exactly where the bacteria came from it's still a hazard. Some of the bacteria may have come from the restaurant employees, raw meat, or poultry contamination. Philip Tierno, a clinical professor, found half of the lemons collected from various restaurants were contaminated with human feces. Other bacteria found were E. coli, Enterococcus, and norovirus, which is responsible for infecting hundreds of people. Studies found that these horrible bacteria come from employees not using gloves or properly washing the lemons.

Can Lemons Make You Sick?

Despite it being so much disgusting and disturbing bacteria in lemons, there’s no real result to sickness. Dr. Philip Tierno found that it’s a small, but distinct risk. Consuming lemons may not lead to infection, but it’s still a possibility. To reduce your risks directly squeeze the lemon into your drink. Letting the lemon float inside the drink causes more exposure. It won’t eliminate all the risks because even the flesh of the lemon can be contaminated, but it helps. The immune system often fights against the bacteria. In some cases, it causes upset stomachs, diarrheal illnesses such as bacterial gastroenteritis. People suffering from diabetes, renal failure, or receiving chemotherapy are more at risk of getting these illnesses.

How Can Restaurants Reduce the Bacteria In Lemons?

The best ways for restaurants to reduce the bacteria in lemons is to ensure everything is clean. Not just the lemons, but ensuring that the employees are washing their hands thoroughly before touching the lemons. As well as wearing gloves when handling and cutting the lemons to put in drinks. Philip Tierno says, “Hand washing is one of the things that’s not practiced very well especially after using bathroom facilities.” 89% of food-related germs caused illness outbreaks from the food handled by workers hands. If workers are not wearing gloves, they need to at least use tongs to place lemons in customers drinks.There’s also a study that says alcoholic beverages can eliminate some bacteria in lemons. However, that depends on the amount of alcohol in the drink and some bacteria in the lemons. Restaurants have said they immediately stopped using lemons until they figure out the cause of the bacteria. They have also included food safety training for all team members.