Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

The new quango warning that will make you lose your rag

‘Attack of the Killer Dishcloths’ — who would have thought that mankind was being menaced by such an innocuous looking oul rag?

But Death by Dishcloth is apparently now such a potential threat that the organisation SafeFood (cross-border; funded, as far as I can tell, by the EU) has taken to billboards to warn us of the hazard. According to the message there, such is the nest of viperous bacterial activity throbbing in your dishcloth that you should “change it every two days”.

What do they mean — “change it every two days.”? They can’t surely mean throw the old one out and get a new one? Can they?

(Apparently bleaching — even with the stuff that promises to kill 99% of household germs — is not enough.)

But surely these people will have liaised with other EU quangos whose concerns are of the landfill variety.

Do the maths

If we assume that there are, say, half a million dishcloth-owning households here (I’m using a very rough estimate), then, every four days, under this direction, we will be chucking out a million germ-ridden cloths. Every month we will be discarding 15 million dishcloths.

Every year? The north Belfast foreshore isn’t big enough. And we can’t surely put the things in the recycling, if they’re truly that dodgy. How did we ever manage back in the days before we realised dishcloths were so very full of microbiological menace? Have germs got deadlier down the years? Have we become weaker? Or have quangos just got bigger budgets to warn us of dangers lurking all around?

Constantly we are being informed about all sorts of everyday items — your office desk, the keyboard, the ATM panel, your mobile, your toothbrush — which allegedly harbour more germs than the toilet seat.

Is any of this advice actually helping us — apart from turning us into a nation of neurotics?

You can get way too much kitchen sink drama.

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