The standard go-to brunch drink—aside from mimosas—is water with lemon wedges dropped in, but you might be drinking more than you bargained for by doing this. Turns out, those seemingly harmless fruit garnishes could be serving up a host of unappetizing organisms.
According to a 2007 study, almost 70 percent of lemons tested at restaurants carried some kind of microbe, including E. coli, staph and norovirus—all kinds of icky bacteria you don’t want spicing up your drink. There has also been research to suggest that the lemon on the rim of your drink could also be carrying old skin cells and even fecal matter.
Yuck! But what are you to do?
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Germaphobe lemon lovers might opt to squeeze the juice directly into the water instead of letting the wedge float about for the duration of a meal — doing so will reduce exposure, though not completely eliminate it. That being said, depending on if your drink is alcoholic or not, there could be enough alcohol in your glass to kill anything harmful before it does any damage.
The same likely goes for a variety of other garnishes, including onions, limes and a cherry on top—so be cautious. But don’t freak out and think you have to BYOB overtime you go out: aside from basic hygiene, like hand washing and choosing a clean restaurant, sometimes all you have to do is trust your immune system to do its job.