Flies twice as filthy as cockroaches, yet customers don't perceive threat

July 10, 2014

Restaurant patrons underestimate the health threats flies present, according to a new survey released by Orkin. Of the survey respondents, 61 percent would continue eating their meal after a fly touched and contaminated it, while just 3 percent of survey respondents reported they would continue eating food on which a cockroach crawled.

"Many restaurant patrons may not be aware that house flies are twice as filthy as cockroaches," said Orkin entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D., in a company press release. "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."

More than 100 pathogens are associated with the house fly according to Orkin, including salmonella, staphylococcus, E.coli and shigella, and these pathogens can cause diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, bacillary dysentery and hepatitis. Flies are known to spread disease-causing pathogens when they move quickly from potentially disease-laden garbage to exposed human foods and utensils. Restaurant patrons are at risk of being exposed to serious disease transmission if flies enter food preparation or dining room areas, a common sight in restaurants.

According to Orkin, restaurants should:

  • Regularly wipe countertops.
  • Clean food and drink spills immediately.
  • Store all food in containers.
  • Empty trash cans and keep lids tightly shut.
  • Install door and window screens.

Topics: Food Safety

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