Menu cards are 100 times dirtier than toilet covers

Ever wondered why you suffer from digestive issues after a nice meal at your favourite restaurant?

The actual problem could lie in the menu card rather than the food itself, warn city doctors. The neat-looking and well-laminated menu card is the breeding ground of harmful drug-resistant bacteria, which could upset your stomach causing problems as simple as loose motions to complicated blood infections.According to experts in infectious diseases, the menu card is about 100 times dirtier than the toilet seat cover, to be precise.

City doctors suggest that the next time you visit a restaurant, make sure to wash your hands after touching the menu card. “First order your dishes and then wash hands,” they advise. The bacteria present on menu cards like Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli are capable of surviving for almost two days. Dr Suneetha Narreddy , infectious diseases consultant at Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills, points out that ketchup bottles, salt and pepper shakers and chairs in restaurants are also home to harmful germs. “Spillage of food on menu cards, chairs and tables is quite common. Cleaning them with disinfectants will reduce the number of bacterial colonies and thus the chances of infection,” Dr Suneetha explains.

Dr KS Soma Sekhar Rao, senior medical gastroenterologist and heptalogist, says, “Various types of disease causing germs like Salmonella typhi (typhoid), Vibrio cho lerae (cholera), E coli and enterobacteria (gastroenteritis) have been found on menu cards during recent examinations. Viruses that cause acute viral hepatitis like hepatitis A and hepatitis E have also been found on menu cards.”

Consultant gastroenterologist Dr Naveen Polavarapu says the bottom of the menu card is highly contaminated.The left and right sides also contain bacteria. “These bugs are transmitted from paper to hand and then to paper. E coli and S aureus have developed resistance to many antibiotics. Lack of personal hygiene by staff is also a contributory factor,” he cautions.


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