Sean Carey’s earlier post about getting his car washed made me think that his car is probably cleaner than many people’s hands (you may recall a post in 2010 reporting on a study of fecal matter on public transportation riders’ hands in four places in the U.K).
My morning’s ramble through Google Scholar led me to an article (PDF) that most readers may have missed — it’s not written by anthropologists, and it’s published in the African Journal of Biotechnology. But it will be of interest to any world traveler, especially those who (like me) sometimes cannot resist street food. Plus, it’s open access.
The researchers collected and analyzed 70 samples of dish washing water, 85 pieces of money and 80 utensils from street food vendors in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.
You can read the details yourself in the article. Here is the conclusion: The data show high levels of pathogens in all the samples. Pathogen risk increases when vendors use their bare hands to serve.