Online Exclusives

Everything's in the Kitchen Sink

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | April 6, 2011

That's right! dishes, utensils and even bacteria. Now, Palmolive is talking to consumers about how its anti-bac liquid dish detergent can help stop the spread of E. coli, salmonella and staph in the kitchen.

The kitchen is the heart of the home, but it can also be ground zero for germs. No matter how clean the kitchen may appear, common bacteria can lurk on cooking tools and other hard, non-porous surface areas like cutting boards, utensils and the sink. At-home chefs can easily, and unknowingly, spread germs as they spread the love by making some homemade meatballs and sauce.

To help increase awareness about safe kitchen practices, Palmolive has partnered with Donald W. Schaffner, a Ph.D. and microbiologist. As an extension specialist in Food Science at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Schaffner knows a thing or two about germs. He has authored nearly 100 food microbiology studies, and was among the first to quantify how bacteria transfer during common kitchen tasks.

To demonstrate how easily cross-contamination can occur, Schaffner conducted a comprehensive review of his bacterial studies and those of leading universities and institutions worldwide that specialize in food safety research. His findings show just how quickly things can go downhill. For example, bacteria on a cutting board can double after 10 minutes of use, whether cutting raw meat or vegetables, and E. coli that remains on washed and dried dishes can survive up to three days, according to data.

Surely, most people these days know that they should wash their hands after handling raw chicken, and that you shouldn’t use the same knife to chop lettuce that was used to trim the fat from the sirloin just moments before. But here’s the shocker: there’s a difference between knowing what to do and following through.

Colgate-Palmolive Antibacterial dishwash.
“Bacterial contamination has always been a problem, but I think people are more aware of it today.Studies have shown, however, that consumers don't always do the right thing, even when they know what the right thing to do might be,” Schaffner told Happi.

A recent study revealed that two-thirds of consumers failed to adequately wash hands after handling raw chicken, nearly 30% failed to wash or change the cutting board after cutting raw chicken and one-third failed to wash or change a knife used to cut raw chicken before cutting raw vegetables.

But Colgate says Ultra Palmolive Antibacterial Dish Liquid, which rolled out last Fall, has a recipe that can help consumers reduce risk when they don their chef’s hats.

“Products like Ultra Palmolive Antibacterial Dish Liquid can reduce risk,” said Dr. Schaffner.“The Palmolive product is the only dish liquid currently on the market approved to kill 99.9% of E. coli, salmonella and staph on dishes and non-porous surfaces in 30 seconds.Regular dish liquids clean, but are not proven to kill bacteria,” he said.

To kill bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli on dishes, consumers should remove excess food from dishware, then dilute one part Ultra Palmolive Antibacterial Dish Liquid to 20 parts water. Let the dishes to sit in the solution for 30 seconds then wash and rinse thoroughly.

“We know that consumers want to do everything they can to keep their kitchens clean and their families safe,” Dave Wilcox, vice president, product safety, regulatory and quality at Colgate-Palmolive, said in a press statement. “Using Ultra Palmolive Antibacterial Dish Liquid to clean knife blades, dishes and other hard, nonporous kitchen surfaces throughout your cooking prep and clean-up process is a simple step that can help put your cooks’ minds at ease.”

Another good idea, wash any dishes, utensils or other hard non-porous kitchen surfaces that may have touched raw eggs or meat before moving on to your next prep task.

“Certainly ‘washing as one goes’ is a good idea—better than waiting until the end and the kitchen is a mess,” said Schaffner.“Palmolive Antibacterial Dish Liquid can be a part of that plan.”

Palmolive dishwashing liquid was introduced in 1966, and today it is sold in more than 35 countries. SKUs include original, Aroma Sensations, Oxy Plus, pure + clear, Dry Skin with Aloe and Baby, a hypoallergenic formula that removes whole milk, formula and food residue.

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