An NBC 5 investigation uncovered a serious flaw in the way most restaurants keep their kitchens and dining areas cleasn. The problem, scientists warn, is the type of cleaning towel restaurants use — standard issue cotton towels. Most restaurants do not know that these towels can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
From restaurant to restaurant, you’ll find most servers cleaning tables with cotton towels. NBC 5 uncovered serious evidence that these so-called industry-standard towels may be one reason why so many people get sick after eating out.
Nationally recognized food safety consultant Dee Clingman was cited as telling NBC 5 most restaurants have no idea cotton towels can put patrons at risk, adding, “You need not to be using cotton or linen towels if you want to sanitize properly.”
The story says that Clingman’s studies show the cotton towels actually soak most of the sanitizer out of the solution.
“In effect, in a very short period of time, less then an hour, there is no active ingredient left in the solution,” he said.
Meaning, all too often, restaurants using cotton towels are not killing bacteria; they are just spreading it around.
Clingman insists the industry should be using non-woven, so-called Quat-Safe towels.
The story adds that not only do most restaurants use cotton towels, but some do not use towels at all, or don’t use sanitizing solution.
NBC 5 watched one server simply rinse the towel with water before wiping the table down.
It turns out the sanitizing solution was nowhere to be found.
Friday’s later told NBC 5 that is unacceptable and it will be retraining employees.
Another waitress NBC 5 taped wiped the table down with napkins. She never even used a sanitizing towel — cotton or Quat-Safe.
NBC 5 brought its findings to the Dallas County Health Department.