Food Groups Worry about Cleanliness of Desktop Dining

August 23, 2011 ( - According to a new survey by the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods’ Home Food Safety program, a majority of Americans continue to eat lunch (62%) and snack throughout the day (50%) at their desks.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they typically find breakfast the first thing on their desktop to-do list, and 4% dine at their desktop for dinner.  

However, a press release said only 36% of Americans clean their work areas weekly, and 64% do so only once a month or less. Only half say they always wash their hands before eating lunch.  

The announcement noted that a study updated in 2007 by the University of Arizona found the average desktop has 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table and 400 times more than the average toilet seat.  

Two-thirds (67%) of those surveyed say the office refrigerator is where they store their lunch. However, approximately one in five people admit they don’t know if it is ever cleaned or say it is rarely or never cleaned. In addition, the survey found 49% of respondents admit to letting perishable food sit out for three or more hours, meaning foods may have begun to spoil before the first bite.   

The survey was conducted with a random sample of 2,191 full-time employees, both men and women, who work at a desk. For the Executive Summary of the 2011 Desktop Dining Survey results, e-mail