Monday, 18 January 2010

Invisible dangers in pick-n-mix

Fancy a few sweets? Think again if you are buying them from a pick and mix stand. You may be buying more than your liquorice or jelly beans. The scoops and bins may be alive with bacteria left behind by previous customers, according to a project at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. And while the most hazardous bugs weren’t found, those on hand are enough to make you ill at the thought.
The project put Zoe and Orlaith Fox and Shannan Feeley right off the idea of using pick and mix sweets and their two part project involved a search for bacteria but also ideas of how to reduce the bacteriological risks. The main organisms found were staphylococcus and micrococcus bacteria and most of the bacteria were found on the scoops and on the bins. The sweets too were often contaminated, They tested a range of sweets and found that those with granular sugar coatings were usually clear of bacteria because the organisms can not tolerate the sugar. Read Dick Ahlstrom's full article here