It seems so routine. An order for a glass of ice tea arrives and attached to the glass is the lemon wedge. You are faced with a choice: squeeze it and throw it in your drink or just squeeze it and put the wedge on a side plate. What is the better choice?
According to the Journal of Envirormental Health, I just asked you a trick question. It’s a question similar to one that I will always remember from my driver’s education class. The teacher asked, “Should you drive in the snow with headlights in regular or the high beam setting?” I chose regular setting. The teacher’s correct answer, “Never drive in the snow”. Thankfully that was not on the DMV driving test.
With that as a backdrop, let me recite some statistics from the study published in the Journal. Studies done on those lemon wedges. Researchers swabbed the rinds of 76 lemons from 21 different restaurants in their study. The samples were collected as soon as the beverage was served. The findings from the research produced the following advice, “Restaurant patrons should be aware that lemon slices added to beverages may include potentially pathogenic microbes”.
A Professor at NYU conducted a similar “lemon study” sponsored by ABC News which also found restaurant workers handling the wedges with their bare hands including handling them after using the restrooms where they had failed to wash their hands. In addition, the wedges were regularly not washed. Sometimes the lemon wedges were originally just lying on counter tops that had not been cleaned and on occasion, the wedges were even dropped to the floor.
In these studies, half of the wedges were shown to be contaminated with bacteria including fecal matter. Both showed a wide variety of contamination. While we can’t avoid all germs, it might be very worthwhile to order the next beverage “without the lemon” and enjoy lemons at home, where you have control! Both attached articles surely create some restaurant lemon wedge fear.
DID YOU KNOW that the sandwich was named after the Fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-92). He was known to stay at the gambling table and wanted to eat meals without interruption… hence sandwiches for dinner.
And for pic o’ day here is poolside: