In Summary
  • Food handlers do not observe hygiene after issuing change or picking calls hence transfer germs.

  • At the time of the survey, 34 of the participants were found to be sick, having been diagnosed with coughs, pneumonia and inflammation of the stomach and intestines (gastroenteritis).

  • The phones were found to be contaminated with 12 bacteria after being swabbed and tested, with the most prevalent, Staphylococcus, which is commonly found on skin and hair.

Dirty money and mobile phones pose a great risk to your health, researchers have warned.

Money, especially low denomination currencies, the scientists say, are causing more diarrheal diseases among Kenyans who are being exposed to food borne germs in hotels and other food joints.

FOOD HANDLERS

The study carried, out among 395 food handlers in 15 different types of outlets in Nairobi County, by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri), and US Army Medical Research Unit — Kenya show that because they are rarely cleaned, money and mobile phones act as reservoirs of germs that cause food poisoning.

Having tested money in all denominations from Sh1 coins to Sh1,000 notes in circulation within Nairobi, the report revealed that among coins, Sh5, Sh10 and Sh20 were dirtiest, followed by Sh50, Sh100 and Sh200 notes.

 “Most of the money denominations and phones were contaminated with pathogenic micro-organisms,” the study findings presented at the 7th East African Health and Scientific Conference held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in March states.

Worse still, food handlers, especially waiters and cooks do not observe hygiene after answering their phones. At the time of the survey, 34 of the participants were found to be sick, having been diagnosed with coughs, pneumonia and inflammation of the stomach and intestines (gastroenteritis).

These diseases not only cause a problem to the patients, but they are prone to being transferred to the food being handled by the sick waiter or cook.

In addition, more than 60 per cent did not wash hands after touching money or using their phones. Normally, food handlers should not be the same people handling money.

“Food handlers and the general public should be sensitised on the risks involved in handling food after touching money and cell phones,” warns the study.

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