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The truth about that lemon wedge

Wednesday - 1/29/2014, 9:15am  ET

lemon water (Thinkstock)
One study finds half of lemons with traces of human waste. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON -- While adding a slice of lemon seems like an easy way to enhance a glass of water, recent studies show these fruits may be adding more than just a citrus flair to your beverage.

It turns out that 70 percent of lemons tested in a recent study contained germs.

Researchers suspect that exposure to raw meats or poultry or the restaurant employees themselves are likely sources of these bacteria, according to a study by the Journal of Environmental Health.

Samples were collected from the flesh and peel of 76 lemons from different restaurants at different times. The specimens were swabbed from lemons that were served but not yet touched by the customer intending to drink the beverage.

In a different study, Dr. Philip Tierno and his team at the New York University Microbiology Department ran tests on lemons from 10 different restaurants. They found that half of the lemons showed traces of human waste.

Although these findings can be alarming, there is no need to panic.

While there can be a slight chance of getting sick from these types of contaminations, Tierno's research indicates that these types of organisms are common within restaurants and are usually found on a variety of different surfaces.

This means that customers are regularly being exposed, and their immune systems are doing their jobs of preventing possible infections.

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