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Restaurant Patrons Underestimate Health Threats of Flies

Fri, 11 Jul 2014 09:49:54 +0000

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- We’re all familiar with the well-worn joke that has a restaurant patron complaining to a waiter about a fly in their soup, but a new survey reveals a majority of people -- 61 percent -- would continue eating their meal after a fly touched it.

In comparison, only three percent of respondents would continue eating food on which a cockroach had crawled.

The folks at Orkin, the pest control company, say restaurant patrons underestimate the health threats that flies present.

"Many restaurant patrons may not be aware that house flies are twice as filthy as cockroaches," says Orkin entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D. "It's important that everyone understands the magnitude of the health threats flies pose so that they can help prevent the transmission of dangerous diseases and bacteria."

Entomologists say flies spread disease-causing pathogens when they move from potentially disease-laden garbage to exposed human foods and utensils. Every time a fly lands, it can leave behind thousands of germs that can cause serious illnesses such as diarrhea, food poisoning, meningitis and bloodstream infections.

Despite the threat, people continue to eat food a fly has touched. A separate survey released by Orkin shows flies are a common pest in restaurants:

  • 50 percent of patrons saw a pest at a restaurant in the past 12 months.
  • 95 percent of those sightings included flies.
  • 75 percent of those sightings went unreported because restaurant patrons don't consider flies a major issue.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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