Whether it is an ice cold glass of water, your favorite drink or a gin and tonic, a slice of lemon is always a refreshing addition.
But did you know the microbes found on your lemon slice have the potential to cause infectious diseases?
That is according to a study which was published in the Journal of Environmental Health in 2007. The study involved researchers swabbing lemon slices that were added on their drinks at 21 different restaurants.
But How Hygienic Is It to Add a Slice of Lemon to Your Drink?
In an effort to make water less bland and more appealing to the palate, many are putting slices of lemon or other fruits into their water. This is a popular method which is used for detox and cleanses.
But according to a study, putting lemon in your water can actually undo the benefits of drinking water. Why is this? It’s because fruits are a notorious carrier of bacteria.
In a 2007 study which was published in the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers looked into the cleanliness of various lemon slices in 21 different restaurants.
Researchers swabbed each lemon slice and found that just under 70% of samples produced some sort of microbial growth.
“The microbes found on the samples of lemon in their investigation all have the potential to cause infectious diseases at various body sites, although its likelihood was not determined in this study,” explained the researchers.
The researchers further stated that “Patrons of restaurants should be aware that lemon slices which are added to beverages may have potentially pathogenic microbes.”
As per Philip Tierno, PhD, a clinical professor of pathology and microbiology at the New York University School of Medicine and the author of The Secret Life of Germs, these findings are not unique.
In various studies that were conducted by Tierno, they “Always comes up with evidence of respiratory secretions, contamination from the skin and fecal matter” on the skin of the fruit.
“People are handling and touching the lemon in your glass and then place it in a container or cup and then pick-up the slices later to drop into a drink and place them on the rim of glasses”, he explained.
This is how those lemon wedges and slices can be contaminated.
But, fortunately the researchers have revealed a couple of ways you can reduce the chances of having contaminated fruit in your glass.
First is to make sure you wash your hands before you slice up the fruit. Or if you are in a bar, you should keep an eye out on the bartender’s cleanliness, for example if they are using a dirty towel.
Another option is to avoid having a slice in your glass or you could just go for a vodka Martini, as straight alcohol will kill any bacteria.