Getting lemon slices in your drink is pretty common at bars and restaurants. We even have lemon-infused water in our drink bottle at work as a zesty alternative.

But this study will make you want to rethink that choice – or at least BYO.

The study, found in the Journal of Environmental Health, was actually published in 2007 but recently uncovered by ELLE.

From a variety of restaurants and bars, 21 samples of lemon slices were looked at – and 70 per cent were found to contain some sort of bacteria or virus.

The scientists explained: “The microbes found on the lemon samples in our investigation all have the potential to cause infectious diseases at various body sites, although the likelihood was not determined in this study.”

“Restaurant patrons should be aware that lemon slices added to beverages may include potentially pathogenic microbes.”

Philip Tierno, PhD, a clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at New York University School of Medicine, told ELLE that staff at bars and restaurants have sometimes poor hygiene habits that can affect the cleanliness of the lemon slices.

With so many studies proving that a large amount of people don’t actually wash their hands after using the bathroom (gross), it’s kinda scary to imagine them touching lemons and limes and then putting it in your drink.

“People are touching the lemon in your glass, handling it, cutting it, placing it in a container or a cup, or a glass; and then picking up those slices at a later point in time and dropping them into a drink and putting them on the rim of a glass,” Tierno added.


So next time, maybe ask the waiter to “hold the lemon”.