Think about skipping that lemon slice next time you order a drink

Most restaurants and bars these days use lemon slices to add a little zest to your drink order. But here's why you should ask to "hold the lemon".
Lemons in drinks

The idea of implementing a “BYO lemon” policy when ordering a drink might seem insane. But you’ll change your mind after hearing the news uncovered by a study in the Journal of Environmental Health.

According to the 2007 study, recently uncovered by ELLE, researchers found the addition of lemon slices in your drinks at the bar also invites nasty unwanted bacteria.

Drawing samples from lemon slices used at 21 different restaurants and bars, 70 per cent of them were found to contain some sort of bacteria or virus.

“The microbes found on the lemon samples in our investigation all have the potential to cause infectious diseases at various body sites, although the likelihood was not determined in this study,” the scientists explained.

“Restaurant patrons should be aware that lemon slices added to beverages may include potentially pathogenic microbes.”

Philip Tierno, PhD, a clinal professor of microbiology and pathology at New York University School of Medicine and author of The Secret Life of Germs says restaurateurs and bar staff’s hygiene habits can affect the cleanliness of the lemon slices.

“Hand washing is one of the things that’s not practiced very well, especially after using bathroom facilities. There are many major studies that prove that,” he told ELLE.

“People are touching the lemon in your glass, handling it, cutting it, placing it in a container or a cup, or a glass; and then picking up those slices at a later point in time and dropping them into a drink and putting them on the rim of a glass,” he added.

“You can easily see how those lemon slices and lemon wedges can be contaminated.”

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