A slice of lemon in a glass of water or some other type of beverage is a common ritual. However, in this way, you are consuming unwanted substances in your organism. During a research conducted by the Journal of Environmental Health, researchers tested 76 lemons picked up from 21 restaurants that they visited 43 times and concluded that 70% of the lemon slices contained microorganisms.
They gathered the samples as soon as a drink was served, that is, before it was drunk or before it came into contact with any other physical contact. However, the scientists could only speculate about the origin of these microbes. The study goes on to explain that although it is a well known fact that lemon contains antibacterial properties, results have shown that a wide spectrum of microorganism can survive on a single slice. Owners of restaurants and coffee shops need to be aware that when they put a slice of lemon in a glass, they are actually putting potential pathogen microorganisms.
Filip Tierno, a professor of microbiology and pathology at the NYU Langone Medical Centre conducted a dozen of similar research. He found that even half a lemon slice is infected with human feces due to direct contact with the fingers. Consequently, as a lot of people work in poor hygienic conditions, i.e. they touch other ingredients or have washed dishes and touched the food with unwashed hands and without gloves.
Bacteria can also be transferred onto the lemon if the hands are not washed after going to the bathroom, sneezing, or coughing. Tierno adds that there is a possibility for an illness, but claims that this is not a very big percentage.