Kitchens remain a source of multi-drug resistant bacteria as suggested by researchers.
After handling raw poultry, hands of food preparers and cutting boards remain a source of transmission for multi-drug resistant bacteria, such as E. coli that produce extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs).
Andreas Widmer, MD, lead author of the study, said that the spread of multi-drug resistant bacteria has been associated with the hospital setting, but these findings suggest that transmission of drug-resistant E. coli occurs both in the hospital and households.
Researchers from University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland collected and examined 298 cutting boards (154 from University Hospital and 144 from private households) after preparation of various meats (i.e., poultry, beef/veal, pork, lamb, game and fish) and before being cleaned.
They also collected 20 pairs of gloves from hospital kitchen employees after they handled raw poultry. These samples were tested for the presence of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae, a family of gram-negative bacteria that includes Salmonella, E. coli and Klebsiella.
In testing the cutting boards, researchers found that 6.5 percent of hospital cutting boards used in preparation of poultry were contaminated with ESBL-producing E. coli. For boards used in households, researchers found ESBL-producing E. coli on 3.5 percent of these surfaces. They also found that 50 percent of the hospital kitchen gloves were contaminated with this drug-resistant E. coli.
The researchers found that none of the cutting boards used in preparing beef/veal, pork, lamb, game or fish were contaminated with any ESBL-producing bacteria. They also found that the meat's country of origin did not play a factor in the presence of bacteria on any of the surfaces.
The study has been published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.