YOUR iced tea drink looks healthy with slices of lemon in it or a slice of lemon at the rim of your drinking glass. Think again. Those wedges could have a significant number of bacteria that may cause illness or disease.
We are not saying that foods in many restaurants are contaminated. But there are instances (and sometimes often), restaurant employees and kitchen staff do not handle food properly especially those who both handle food and money.
Several studies have found a significant number of bacteria on those slices, and most of them are typical of what you may find when people handling them don’t wash their hands well.
It is difficult to say that restaurant and bar employees are not observing proper hygiene. We’re not sure how they handle the food in the kitchen or behind the bar. In terms of lemon wedges, the fruit was already sliced when they served it. The big question is: did they wash (or scrub) the lemon before they sliced it? Or did they wash their hands well or put on gloves before they handle them?
People with strong immune system won’t feel anything wrong after consuming a glass of iced tea with contaminated lemon. Their stomach acid inactivates the bacteria. However to some with “sensitive stomach”, the bacteria from unwashed hands may, however, cause upset stomachs or diarrheal illnesses such as bacterial gastroenteritis. If you suffer from a significant illness such as renal failure or diabetes, you may be more at risk. It’s also more dangerous for people who are taking medications or receiving chemotherapy or other treatments that may suppress their immune system.