Why You Should Probably Avoid Lemons And Limes At Most Restaurants

Fresh lemons and limes make for some delicious foods and beverages. Cleveland Clinics Health Essentials explains that using lemon in your drinks can help to keep you hydrated, add vitamin C to your diet to help boost your immune system, and even provide a little potassium. But go into a bar or restaurant and order up a cosmopolitan, mojito, lemon drop martini, gin and tonic, iced tea, a glass of water, or pretty much any drink that uses a wedge of citrus fruit in some shape or form, and you may be asking for trouble. In fact, there is a chance that you might even start feeling a little queasy after experiencing this burst of citrus in a drink at a restaurant or bar. 

Slices of lemons and limes in your water or diet soda can definitely make for a refreshing drink, but Good Housekeeping suggests that you might want to think twice the next time you are out and think that citrus fruit is just the flavor enhancer your beverage needs. Why? Because a 2007 study found that an overwhelming 70% of these sliced-up fruits are covered in "over 25 different types of germs." If you are starting to feel a dirty taste in your mouth, we're with you.

Alcohol doesn't kill bacteria

Naturally, when a study of this nature comes out, someone has to put it to the test. Good Morning America did just that in 2008. Their findings were unsettling. The news source visited six restaurants and found the lemons were brimming with "fecal matter," and were even speckled with the dreaded bacteria, E. coli. Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology at New York University (NYU), told the outlet, "I see that people have no concern of where they put their fingers. They'll take things with their bare hands rather than gloving up and distributing the food stuff as they should." 

But we get it .. 2008 is so long ago. That's why another group performed its own test in 2017, per The Conversation. The news source revealed that its research showed that E. coli could easily make its way to ice and wet lemons 100% of the time. However, dry lemons only held this bacteria 30% of the time. We know what you are thinking: It's 2022; how can these wedges not be handled properly? And don't count on alcohol to kill those pesky organisms. Per the Jama Network, alcohol is not going to keep bacteria at bay. Bacteria can get into your drinks through the ice or the citrus garnishes through many entry points. The site recommends checking out the sanitation record of the eatery you plan to dine at before ordering to help combat this problem.