‘Not enough if your kitchen is visibly clean’
By Express News Service - CHENNAI
14th February 2013 08:45 AM
Almost 69 per cent of women in the city, interviewed during a survey conducted by the Indian Medical Academy (IMA), were unaware that the kitchen was a possible source of infection.
The survey on kitchen cleanliness was conducted among 1,400 homemakers belonging to middleclass households from Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune and 500 doctors from across the country. In each of the seven cities, 200 homemakers in the age group of 25-40 were interviewed.
“The general perception of kitchen hygiene among Indian homemakers stems from what appears to be visually clean as opposed to a properly sanitised and disinfected kitchen where the priority is to get rid of disease-causing germs,” according to Dr Preetaish Kaul, medical advisor, Indian Medical Academy.
The objective of the survey was to study and analyse the Indian homemakers’ perceptions and practices with regard to cleaning and hygiene and help to correct their mistakes. “There is neither much awareness about kitchen hygiene in India nor is it much talked about as in the West,” he pointed out.
Stating that food-borne illnesses were increasing — killing 1.9 million children globally, Kaul warned that a kitchen sponge contained 10 million bacteria per sq inch. But the study showed that 87 per cent of homemakers responded that removal of dirt, dust, grease and oil qualified as adequate kitchen cleaning , while nearly 95 per cent of them believed that ‘visually clean’ implied hygienically clean. Only 13 per cent felt it important to remove germs and bacteria from their kitchens.
None of them felt that their kitchens ought to be cleaned on a daily basis. Interestingly, the frequency of dusting and cleaning the living room and bedroom was much higher since they were perceived as the most occupied or scrutinised areas in a home, the study showed.
Around 18 per cent thought the kitchen was as dirty as the bathroom. The survey showed that kitchen sinks were cleaned least frequently compared to utensils, chopping boards, stoves, kitchen slabs, kitchen towels and cloths, refrigerators and appliances. The proportion using an anti-bacterial formulation ranged between eight per cent and five per cent, while 87 per cent of the doctors surveyed recommended using an anti-bacterial bar.
“Disinfectants have been shown to be effective against food-borne pathogens and to be more effective than detergent-based cleaning alone. But the proportion of homemakers using some sort of antibacterial formulation is negligible,” said Dr Balaji, senior consultant microbiologist at a leading private hospital.
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