ANN ARBOR, Mich., April 17 (UPI) -- One of the top six places food-borne, illness-causing germs can hide in the kitchen is the refrigerator vegetable compartment, U.S. experts say.
NSF International, a public health and safety organization, and the Healthy House Institute, which provides consumers information to make their homes healthier, are partnering to help educate consumers on home health and safety.
Lisa Yakas, a microbiologist at NSF's Consumer Products Division, and Robert Donofrio, director of NSF International's Applied Research Center, conducted an annual study of household germs.
NSF found six places where food-borne, illness-causing germs can hide if not properly cleaned. They included:
-- The refrigerator vegetable compartment can harbor salmonella, listeria, yeast and mold.
-- Refrigerator meat compartment: salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold.
-- Blender gasket: salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold.
-- Can opener: salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold.
-- Rubber spatula: E. coli, yeast and mold.
-- Food storage container with rubber seal: salmonella, yeast and mold.
"Germs often gather in places we don't think about cleaning, which is why NSF's Home Product Certification program tests the cleanability of the products that bear the NSF Certified for Home Use mark, in addition to testing performance and durability," Yakas said in a statement.
"When consumers purchase kitchen appliances certified by NSF, they'll know that NSF also has verified the manufacturer's cleaning directions, hence following these directions will help prevent harboring of germs that can cause food-borne illnesses."