It is customary for most restaurants to add a lemon wedge to the rim of your glass when you order water, soda or a cocktail.
You might not think much of it when you drop the lemon into your beverage but you're probably drinking more than just H20 according to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Health.
Researchers tested the flesh and rind of lemons used as decorative garnishes from 21 restaurants during 41 visits and have found that 70% of the samples had harmful microbes on them.
The microbial growth found on the citrus fruit were believed to have been caused by cross-contamination by restaurant employees as a result of poor sanitary practices.
Although some people may argue that lemon's acidic properties can kill the germs, the study's authors argued that this is only correct to a certain extent because some "potentially pathogenic microbes" continue to survive.
In another series of experiments by Philip Tierno, Ph.D., clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at NYU Langone Medical Center, fecal matter, E. coli, staphylococcus epidermidis and candida were found on lemon wedges. “We found in every single group of specimens from different institutions, representations from the three body sites that men usually impart their flora,” Tierno told Huffington Post.
Despite all of these scary findings, Tierno reassured that there is a low chance of actually getting sick from one of these lemons. “The usual course will probably result in no infection, but there is a possibility” he said. “You can’t live in a bubble. Your immune system is usually pretty good.”
If you absolutely can't enjoy a beverage without the tinge of sourness then you can reduce your risk of contamination by squeezing the juice into the glass instead of immersing the entire wedge in.
Will this information change how you order your drink? Let us know!