Scientists now know flies carry more bacteria than initially thought

After reading this, you may never again eat food that’s had a fly on it.

Scientists now know flies carry more bacteria than initially thought

It’s heading into full-blown fly season, so many of you will be seeing more and more of the nasty little blighters.

And while ‘blowies’ and house flies are an accepted part of an Australian summer, simply shooing them away from your food may not be enough.

In fact, after reading this, you may never again eat food that’s had a fly on it.

A new study has revealed just how filthy flies really are, with researchers discovering that they carry a lot more bacteria than initially thought – to the point where just a second of contact with food could be enough to make you ghastly ill.

Researchers from Penn State University’s Eberly College of Science, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro studied 116 flies.

Their studies showed that, because houseflies and blowflies are usually the first organisms to arrive on carcasses, decaying matter and faeces on which they feed, breed, and lay eggs, they carry harmful bacteria such as e-coli, salmonella and pathogens that cause a range of other diseases and infections.

Houseflies can carry up to 351 types of bacteria, while blowflies carry around 316. These include germs responsible for urinary tract infections, stomach ulcers, sepsis, and intestinal diseases.

The research showed that fly legs and wings carry the most microbial matter and with it the transmission of bacteria from dead and decaying matter to your food or other surfaces.

''People had some notion that there were pathogens that were carried by flies but had no idea of the extent to which this is true and the extent to which they are transferred,” said Penn State University Professor Donald Bryant.

"We believe that this may show a mechanism for pathogen transmission that has been overlooked by public health officials.

"It will really make you think twice about eating that potato salad that's been sitting out at your next picnic.

"It might be better to have that picnic in the woods, far away from urban environments, not a central park."

So, the next time a fly lands on your food, think twice about your next bite.

Do you care about flies on your food? Will this make you think twice about eating food that’s had flies on it? Or do you think it builds a stronger immune system?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    29th Nov 2017
    That is US research. I guess our house flies and blow flies are the same. What about a followup on Aussie bush flies, which Aussies are told do not carry disease.
    29th Nov 2017
    I will probably get some stick for my following comment;
    Qld is banning plastic bags in 2018. Collective punishment for those who do not do the right thing. I remember times when there were no plastic bags and often scraps of food were left around which flies loved and were a major pest. These days here, (Sunshine Coast) flies are very few even when cooking outside. My local IGA uses 100% degradable plastic bags. I've found out to my dismay; they do degrade after leaving things in them for a long time in my garage :-) disintegrating when I've tried to lift them making 'snow flakes' to clean up.
    29th Nov 2017
    some biodegradable bags are doing more harm to the environment because of these nano particles, you need to do some research and find corn or plant based bags.
    29th Nov 2017
    I use recycled plastic bags for our kitchen bin tidy, and then seal it and put the sealed recycled plastic bag in the garbage bin so flys cant get to it. I also use the recycled plastic bags to pick up dog poo. I recently had an altercation with a shop in Victoria that refused to give me a plastic bag, she called me an environmental terrorist. I walked down the aisle and showed her black plastic bin bags for sale and told her she was a hypocrite. As far as I am concerned this drive to stop free REUSABLE plastic bag is a way to sell more plastic bags and in itself will cause more pollution
    Polly Esther
    29th Nov 2017
    You exhibit good hygiene and good thinking Mike.
    You think outside the square as the saying is :-)))
    29th Nov 2017
    mike, my thoughts exactly -- and good for you!

    They will stop giving out plastic bags but still sell them AND pack fresh veg in plastic too -- this get rid of the bag is a money making racket for the big shops.

    Also what about the fishing line etc etc etc -- that causes a lot of suffering for wildlife as well and what about the ongoing plastic everywhere -- let them stop all plastic -- it is not possible, think of the amount of medical waste alone made of plastic!
    29th Nov 2017
    We may not be able to stop all plastic but they can change the way they are made, there are alternatives made from corn and other plant material. Here is a great website that explains it all:
    29th Nov 2017
    My other dilemma is: is it better to wrap dog poo up in plastic or let nature break it down? I am horrified that people with dogs will walk the beach do the right thing and pick up the poo, then proceed to use a non-biodegradable bag and throw it in the bushes or leave it on the beach, I have picked them up from everywhere even from onto of the rocks on the beach.
    29th Nov 2017
    I've never been told that bush flies don't carry disease. I would have thought all flies carry it.
    29th Nov 2017
    The biggest breeder of flies is agriculture. I live near the coast and there is a bit of land where there never was anything and since they put cows on there we see more flies coming to our house than ever before. Flies won't go to plants, so if you eat fresh plant food you won't have any problems.

    Tags: food, health, wellbeing,

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