Think you’re safe from harmful health hazards with a lemon wedge and water? Think again. Dodging tap water is only half the battle when it comes to ordering this beverage. While lemon water can offer stellar wellness benefits, from flushing toxins from the body to aiding in digestion, it’s what sticks to the lemon rinds that presents danger when ordered from a diner.
This mouth-puckering fruit is usually sliced and served by the dozens, but it’s hardly ever washed. One waitress told Reader’s Digest, “now that I’ve worked in a restaurant, I never ask for lemon in a drink. Everybody touches them. Nobody washes them. We just peel the stickers off, cut them up, and throw them in your iced tea.”
If you’ve ever sat at the diner bar you’ve probably spotted these dirty lemon piles in the drink garnish lineup. Unrefrigerated and unprotected from airborne germs, these lemon wedges are just waiting to be sneezed on. Not to mention, most of the food and drink garnishes are handled by almost the entire waitstaff, who — let’s be honest — probably don’t wash their hands as well as they should. Let’s just say we’re not shocked to learn that a recent study found almost 70 percent of the lemon wedges tested from 21 restaurants found active microbes on the lemon rinds with “the potential to cause infectious diseases.”
Regular diner customers should think twice before ordering any beverage served with a lemon or freshly cut garnish.