Microbial flora on restaurant beverage lemon slices

J Environ Health. 2007 Dec;70(5):18-22.


Restaurateurs often place a lemon slice on the rim of a beverage glass, or afloat in the beverage, as a flavor-enhancer or a decorative garnish. The handling of the lemons before their placement in the beverage may not follow sanitary procedures. The study reported here investigated whether beverage lemon slices contain microbial contamination that could be consumed by a restaurant patron. Swabbed samples of the flesh and rind of lemon slices on the rims of beverage glasses were analyzed for microbial contents. Seventy-six lemons from 21 restaurants were sampled during 43 visits. Fifty-three (69.7 percent) of the lemon slices produced microbial growth. Twenty-three (30.3 percent) of the lemon slices produced no microbial growth. A total of 25 different microbial species were recovered from the samples.

MeSH terms

  • Beverages / microbiology*
  • Citrus / microbiology*
  • Food Microbiology* / standards
  • Restaurants* / standards