Al desko lunching poses danger to health

Anyone with a busy job will have been tempted from time to time to eat lunch at their desk. And for especially busy professionals, this is the norm. But did you know that eating lunch at your desk could expose you to germs that might result in food poisoning?

That’s one of the many risks we take both at work and at home because we’re not aware of the health risks we’re taking every day, says a leading British cleaning company.

According to, office desks and keyboards in particular are a risk to public health as they’re rarely cleaned properly, and are a magnet for lunchtime crumbs and other debris.


“Most of the time, we’re not aware of the small but significant risks we’re taking,” said spokesman Mark Hall.

“Every time we prepare food or go to the bathroom, we’re exposing ourselves to germs, and as a society we’ve become blind to the dangers.” has compiled a list of 10 of the most gut-churning facts about germs found in everyday places:

The average office desk is home to 20,000 germs per sq in, more than the average toilet. Most office equipment isn’t cleaned regularly, usually because companies are scared of the cleaners damaging computer equipment. And you eat your sandwiches directly off the desk surface.

The average office computer keyboard has hundreds of crumbs from desk lunches and snacks inside, a harbour for germs and infection.

Office hot-desking makes the most of available space, especially in organisations which have shift work. However, lack of cleaning of desks and computers makes transmission of germs far easier.

Kitchen sinks are far less likely to be cleaned than the bathroom sink. With food and other waste festering at the bottom and around the drain, there can be hundreds of thousands times more germs present in the area where you prepare food.

Kitchen cloths, sponges and dish brushes can be the most highly infected items in your household, especially if you keep them in your sink.

Fridge salad drawers contain bacteria such as e.coli and should be regularly cleaned and disinfected.

Similarly, re-usable shopping bags may also contain harmful germs and bacteria, especially if used to carry perishables. Clean or replace them at regular intervals – it’s a fact that 90% of users don’t take advantage of “bag for life” offers and replace old, germ-ridden bags for nothing.

Your touch screen phone or tablet can contain more bacteria than you realise. Public touch screen facilities are an unreported danger that should be cleaned regularly – you don’t know who’s been using it before you.

A swab of a handbag showed up to 10,000 bacteria per square inch. A third of bags tested positive for faecal bacteria. Bags come into contact with some very dirty places, including public transport, public toilets and restaurant and bar floors. See also: shoes, dirty laundry

The froth in hot tubs contains dead skin and other bacteria. While most people clean their bath after use, there’s a lack of cleanliness with hot tubs, where germs are allowed to grow in a warm environment over a period of time.

“Although we’ve made it sound like death stalks you at every corner, a few sensible precautions will mitigate these risks,” said Hall.

“Regular, sensible cleaning is usually enough to put an end to these worries. You don’t have to be a cleaning professional, either.”

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