Most of us have a few dirty little secrets in our daily routine - like not using dental floss, or wearing the same socks twice.
But there are a few habits which bring us into contact with dangerous bacteria which could lead to food poisoning - and some of these are actually rather difficult to avoid.
Most of these won’t make you ill every time, of course - but they do bring you into contact with nasty bacteria, and some experts advise avoiding them (where possible).
Holding onto the pole on the bus
If you’ve ever wondered just how grotty the pole people hold onto on the bus gets, the answer is simple.
Australian sanitation company Earth Ecco tested a bus pole with an ATP test - looking for adenosine triphosphate, which shows signs of organic waste and bacteria.
It came out with a reading of 1700 - and to put that in context, anything above 30 ‘relative light units’ is worrying.
CEO Jake Tyson said, ‘There are lots of germs and bacteria on the way to work because there are more people on a bus or a train. There could be staph or MRSA inside a train or bus and they can turn into a disease.
Having a slice of lemon in your G&T
Next time you’re asked whether you want ‘ice and slice’, you might want to rethink your options - as lemon slices are frankly filthy.
The problem is they’re handled by a lot of people, and those people often take shortcuts - such as not washing their hands.
Philip Tierno, author of The Secret Life of Germs says that his in his tests on lemon slices, he ‘always comes up with evidence of contamination from the skin, respiratory secretions, and fecal matter.’
Previous research found that up to 70% of lemon slices served in drinks at restaurants had potentially harmful microbes on them.
Using one fork to cook at a barbecue
How many forks do you use when you’re barbecuing? If the answer’s ‘One’, you could be risking your health - and that of your guests.
When barbecue chefs prod bits of raw meat with a fork, then use the same one to lift off cooked burgers, it’s a shortcut to food poisoning.
‘This is when bugs found on the surface of raw meat, including E.coli, can be transferred to sterilised cooked meat,’ says food safety expert Professor John Oxford.
‘Use one fork to place raw meat on the barbecue, another to move the meat around during the cooking process and finally a third fork to move the cooked meat from the barbecue to the plate.’
Eating pre-washed salad
It might look cleaner than ‘dirty’ vegetables, but the more prepared a food is, the more people have touched it - and that means ‘pre-washed’ salads are risky.
Bill Marler, a lawyer specialising in food poisoning cases, who has won $600 million for clients, said, ‘I avoid these like the plague. We’ve gotten so used to the convenience of mass-produced food - bagged salad and boxed salads and precut this and precut that. Convenience is great but sometimes I think it isn’t worth the risk.’
Wearing festival wristbands for months after
Music lovers often like to show off just how much they love live music with a wrist full of ageing festival wristbands - but it might not be a good idea.
Dr Alison Cottell of the University of Surrey analysed two bands - and found thousands of bacteria on each, a level 20 times higher than you’d see in clothing.
Cottell said, ‘Dr Cottell said: ‘It would be advisable not to wear them if working in industries such as healthcare or food preparation, where there is a risk that the bacteria may spread to other people.’