A widely spreading stomach flu bug, caused by what’s called a “norovirus,” is believed to have come to the United States from Australia this winter. Nicknamed the “winter vomiting disease,” this virus can be spread by contaminated knives and food graters used in food preparation, according to research at the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia.
In this study, researchers examined how the hepatitis A virus and norovirus can be transferred between a range of fruit and vegetables and different kitchen knives or flat steel coarse graters. Tests were done with uncontaminated utensils on contaminated produce and contaminated utensils on uncontaminated produce.
They found that when a clean knife or grater was used on produce harboring a virus, the kitchen utensils could cross-contaminate seven other pieces of produce that were chopped or grated afterward.
The important lesson: Constantly wash your hands and kitchen utensils. And thoroughly clean all fruits and vegetables before handling them in the kitchen. Don’t eat in dirty restaurants.