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Lemon Laws

Now who doesn’t enjoy a tall ice cold glass of water with a wedge of lemon in it when they sit down at their favorite restaurant? We sure do, but how sanitary is that lemony goodness?


Think about it. You don’t really know where those lemons come from. You don’t know how they were handled back there in the kitchen: were they dropped on the floor a couple of times before being sliced up? And what about that cutting surface, is it devoted solely to slicing fruits and vegetables?

Alright we don’t want to scare you, but it’s not unreasonable to wonder about the potential risk here. Obviously we rarely hear about anyone getting sick from a bit of lemon in their water, but it would be nice to know we’re safe while we enjoy our refreshing, and healthy beverage.

Well, a biology professor at a college in New Jersey started wondering the very same thing and decided to do some testing. Visiting several restaurants in the NJ area, Professor Anne Loving found that approximately 70% of the samples taken were found to be contaminated with various types of bacteria, including bacteria of fecal origin. Some of her findings indicated that a portion of the lemons tested had come into contact with a cross contaminated surface after being sliced.

ABC’s Good Morning America show asked some of the same questions and came up with similar results, even finding some traces of E.coli, certain strains of which are responsible for many reports of food poisoning every year.

We don’t want you to permanently swear off citrus in your H20, but to be a bit more cautious, squeeze the lemon juice into your water and avoid tossing the whole lemon wedge into your glass.

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