eating at desk

Photo: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Thinkstock

ADA: Eating at your desk could lead to foodborne illness

August 24, 2011

Chicago – Workers who eat at their desk may be exposed to harmful bacteria, putting them at risk for foodborne illness, the American Dietetic Association warned Aug. 23.

According to an ADA survey, 83 percent of Americans regularly eat at their desks. However, only 36 percent of survey respondents said they clean their work areas, desktop, mouse and keyboard on a weekly basis; 64 percent said they do so on a monthly basis or less.

A 2007 study from the University of Arizona found that desktops have 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table and 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. To prevent the spread of dangerous bacteria, ADA recommends workers:

  • Wash hands with soap and warm water before every meal.
  • Clean all surfaces before eating on them.
  • Refrigerate perishable food items within two hours of the time it was removed from the refrigerator at home.
  • Make sure the office refrigerator temperature is set below 40° F, and frequently clean it out.