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Hygiene, cockroaches and your morning coffee

Many Australians rely on their morning cup of coffee, but there are dangers inherent in the brewing process that can be deleterious to our health.

When brewing that morning cup of coffee, Australians need to be aware of the danger of becoming seriously ill, “thanks to a whole host of nasties which lurk in and around” the brewing process, according to a university professor.

Swinburne University Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology’s Professor Enzo Palombo said that there are also risks from bacteria in coffee shops that we might frequent.

“We all carry bacteria and other microbes on our hands, so the best defence against spreading diseases through food and drink is proper hand hygiene, such as washing your hands. This applies to all food handlers, including baristas.”

Whether we are making coffee at home or getting it from our favourite café, we might be exposed to cockroaches in the coffeemaker to bacteria on your cup lid, which puts us at risk from a number of serious illnesses, including MRSA, even dysentery and cholera, Professor Palombo said.

And, according to research, up to 67 types of bacteria can be found as the drink makes its way to your lips, he continued.

The health complaints that can be transmitted, as a result of one’s caffeine fix, are stomach flu, Norovirus and staph infections, and there may even be bugs living inside coffee machines if those devices are not cleaned properly, the professor noted.

“Cockroaches are a particular problem because they love coffee,” he said.

“With the cockroaches, like houseflies, they can be carriers for serious diseases – diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid fever and cholera. Again, good kitchen hygiene practices are recommended.”

Neel Patel, spokesperson of domestic services company Fantastic Services, added: “There is a reason cockroaches love coffee machines so much. They are naturally attracted to three things: darkness, moisture and nutrients. And these machines have all three.”

“With some coffee machines being ‘fixed’, that is they have immovable parts, it may sometimes be impossible to remove everything, wash it down and, perhaps, even fumigate to get rid of them.”