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Contaminated Lemon Slices in Restaurants-Truth!

Researcher Says Most Lemon Slices in Restaurants are Contaminated-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:

The forwarded email appears to be an article featuring the findings of microbiologist Anne LaGrange Loving who found that two-thirds of the lemons tested from 21 restaurants were contaminated with bacteria when added as slices to beverages.

The Truth:

This study was published in December, 2007 in the Journal of Environmental Health.  It was co-authored by Anne LaGrange Loving and John Perz. 

The authors collected 76 lemon slices from 21 restaurants on 43 visits in Patterson, New Jersey.  They swabbed both the lemon slice and the glass on which the slice had been placed and immediately after the glass had been brought to them.  The result was that they found contamination on both the flesh and the rind of most of the lemon wedges, although they did not research how it got there.  Some of it could have arrived with the fruit from the field, some of it could have been through contamination from the hands of employees.  Some of it could have been from contaminated work surfaces. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration conducted a study in 2004 of both fast food and full service restaurants.  The conclusion was that there was poor personal hygiene on the part of employees at 31 percent of the fast food restaurants and more than 41 percent of the full service restaurants.