Print Friendly and PDF

Appliances and utensils that host the most germs

After reading a survey by NSF on appliances and utensils that host the most germs, I was quite surprised to find a few items on the list that I never suspected.


NSF is a public health and safety organization established in 1944. It is their mission to protect and improve global human healthby facilitating the development of public health standards and certifications that help protect food, water, consumer products and the environment. As part of a 2013 study conducted to identify unclean appliances that host the most amount of germs, the NSF compiled a list of the 10 germiest places in a kitchen, and we have highlighted a few of these below.

NSF studies have shown that more than 20 percent of foodborne illness outbreaks result from food that was consumed in the home and food safety experts point to a number of contributing factors, including improper food storage, handling and preparation.





You'll never look at your kitchen in quite the same light after reading NSF International's list of the germiest appliances. A study conducted in 2013 resulted in a list of the ten ickiest places in the kitchen, The appliances and kitchen tools listed below deserve particular attention, as these are the ones harboring microorganisms that could cause illness:

1. Refrigerator vegetable compartment: Salmonella, Listeria, yeast and mould

2. Refrigerator meat compartment: Salmonella, E.coli, yeast and mould

3. Blender gasket: Salmonella, E.coli, yeast and mould

4. Can opener: Salmonella, E.coli, yeast and mould

5. Rubber spatula: E. coli, yeast and mould

6. Food storage container with rubber seal: Salmonella, yeast and mould

Harmful germs were found on everyday kitchen appliances and tools that come in direct contact with food, especially raw produce, meat, poultry, seafood and ready-to-eat food. In the study, 36% of the items tested positive for E.coli and salmonella. Listeria was found on 14% of the items, and all of them had traces of yeast and mould.



Keeping your appliances germ-free

We don't always pay enough attention to cleaning some utentils like a spatula, or appliances such as a blender that has fixed or removable blades, or within the workings of a can opening.

The NSF International recommends following manufacturers' directions for cleaning on a regular basis:

- Blenders should be disassembled and the gasket removed from the base for proper cleaning.

- Refrigerator vegetable and meat compartments require cleaning and sanitising on a regular basis.

- Can openers need washing and sanitising after each use.

- Rubber seals in food storage containers should be thoroughly cleaned after each use, or on a regular basis.

- Rubber insulating seals around refrigerator and freezer doors need to be sanitised regularly.

Make scrubbing the produce and meat storage drawers part of your grocery shopping routine; give them a good wipe-down before filling them up. Put food storage containers in the dishwasher as soon as they're empty, and toss all the tools you use to prepare dinner in the wash every night, even if they don't look dirty.

Follow manufacturer's cleaning guidelines

Manufacturer's should offer precise and easy to understand instructions for cleaning any type of appliance, but particularly items that come into contact with food. Before you toss out the Instruction Manual, familiarise yourself with the proper care and cleaning instructions for each and every appliance in your kitchen.



back to top