Restaurant patrons should be aware that lemon slices added to beverages may include potentially pathogenic microbes.
Washington: That pre-sliced pieces of lime in your festive gin or non-alcoholic beverage in bars and restaurants might not be the best thing as these slices may cause infectious diseases at various body sites, warns a new study.
The Journal of Environmental Health conducted and published a study that investigated how hygienic lemon slices in bars and restaurants are.
Researchers from New York University's school of medicine swabbed lemon slices which accompanied drinks at 21 different restaurants. The unappetising findings revealed almost 70 percent of the samples produced some sort of microbial growth, including 25 different microbial species.
"The microbes found on the lemon samples in our investigation all have the potential to cause infectious diseases at various body sites, although the likelihood was not determined in this study," the researchers wrote.
"Restaurant patrons should be aware that lemon slices added to beverages may include potentially pathogenic microbes," they added. While the alcohol in your drink may be strong enough to kill these nasties, there is further bad news.
"People are touching the lemon in your glass, handling it, cutting it, placing it in a container or a cup, or a glass; and then picking up those slices at a later point in time and dropping them into a drink and putting them on the rim of a glass," said lead author Philip Tierno.
"You can easily see how those lemon slices and lemon wedges can be contaminated," he explained.