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What's cooking in your oven mitts might make you lose your appetite

Tonight we have results of an 8 On Your Side investigation into a household item that could make your family sick. Oven mitts and hot pads are a necessary culinary tool but we found most people rarely clean the accessories that come in close contact with your food. 8 On Your Side Reporter Chris Williams shows what's cooking in your oven mitts.

What's comes between you and your food may make you lose your appetite. This question of culinary curiosity came from an old high school friend on facebook. One day Kelly's status asked; "how often do you wash your hot pads?"

We got to thinking and asking around. The most common answer was, "never", so we asked Augustana College for help.

"A Fomite is an inanimate object that carries germs from one place to another", Doctor Dara told explained.

The microbiologist and professor is an expert in the creepy crawlers you can't see with the naked eye.

Our request was a first. No one had ever recorded what was cooking in oven mitts and hot pads. We collected 9 samples. Some looked well used. Others relatively clean and we threw in three right off the shelf. We did not tell Doctor Dara and her student research assistants the history behind each mitt and pad until after the test was completed.

The team swabbed and sampled each item then began a process to identify the bacteria that took about two weeks. Researchers tested how the bacterial growths responded to different conditions to determine what they were working with.

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