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The 9 Germiest Places In Your Kitchen

Salmonella typhimurium (white) and E. coli (pink) colonies on agar in a petri dish, with a pencil for scale.
Salmonella typhimurium (white) and E. coli (pink) colonies on agar in a petri dish, with a pencil for scale.

The "germiest" places in the kitchen may not be where you think. A new list released by NSF International, an independent public health and environmental organization, reveals unlikely places where germs might be most likely to prowl.

NSF's data isn't exactly culled from a large sample population -- it comes from swabs of just 20 family kitchens -- but it does raise questions about what is and is not clean in the kitchen. A total of 14 items were tested in each kitchen.

Results "were all a little bit surprising," NSF microbiologist Lisa Yakas told CBSNews.com last month.

The organization's microbiologists looked for E.coli, salmonella, Listeria, mold and yeast in the samples; they found that 36 percent of the items were contaminated with both salmonella and E. coli, and all were contaminated with yeast and mold. Fourteen percent tested positive for Listeria.

Places with the most germs tended to be those that aren't cleaned as often as others, including refrigerator compartments and kitchen tools like can openers and blender gaskets. On the group's web site, the list is accompanied by recommendations on how to avoid the germy buildup.

Here are the 9 germiest places they most often found them:

9 Germiest Places In Your Kitchen

CORRECTION 5/8: The post has been updated to reflect correct figures from NSF. NSF acknowledged to The Huffington Post that its figures were incorrect in the initial report and issued the following statement:

Unfortunately, we recognized a typo and an error in data interpretation in the Executive Summary that was shared with you. While the scientific and the summary conclusions remain the same, some of the specific data was reported incorrectly.