Food Safety Training, Auditing & Management
Food Safety Training, Auditing & Management

Contamination of UK mobile phones and hands examined

At least one in 6 mobile phones in Britain is 

contaminated with faecal matter, according to

research from Queen Mary, University of London.


The most likely reason for the presence of potentially harmful bacteria on mobile phones  is people not washing their hands properly or for long enough, with soap after going to the toilet.

Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine conducted a UK wide study & revealing the statistics.

Although 95 per cent of people said they washed their hands with soap where possible, 92 per cent of phones and 82 per cent of hands had significant levels of bacteria on them. Alarmingly, 16 per cent of hands and 16 per cent of phones were found to harbour  E.coli – bacteria of a faecal origin. E. coli &  and has been implicated in many serious cases of food poisoning

Dr Ron Cutler, who carried out the research found the fact that E. coli was present on phones and hands in every location shows this is a nationwide problem, despite people claiming to wash their hands.

Researchers travelled to cities throughout the UK  and took multiple  samples from mobile phones and hands which were analysed in the lab to find out the type and number of germs present. They also asked the participants a series of questions about their hand washing habits.

Faecal bacteria can survive on unwashed hands and on surfaces for hours. It is easily transferred to door handles, food and mobile phones as highlighted in the stats. Any germs can be picked up by other people or transferred to food including norovirus, rotavirus and influenza.

With well in excess of 400,000 people working directly in the food & drink industry the implications to food safety of poor hand hygiene are worrying.


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