Dr. Charles Gerba Ph.D is also known as "Dr. Germ". He has multiple studies (~400) published on everything from toilet germs to water distribution systems.
Problem: "The desk, in terms of bacteria, is 400 times more dirty than your toilet," University of Arizona microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba told WebMD (NASDAQ: WBMD -News). "People turn their desks into bacteria cafeterias because they eat at them, but they never clean them. The phone is the dirtiest, the desktop is next, and the mouse and the computer follow."
But bacteria problems at your desk could be more severe than Gerba thinks. Breadcrumbs and other food remnants get can get in between keys on your keyboard, attract rats and lead to unintended exposure to their germs. What's more, many raw and cooked foods need to remain refrigerated, and leaving them out for two hours or more is a food safety no-no.
Prevention: If you frequently eat your lunch at your desk, you may want to make sure you have hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes to wipe down your work surface daily. That can also protect you from germs sprayed into the air by your coughing and sneezing coworkers.
If your office has a communal kitchen sink with a sponge, the American Dietetic Association suggests using paper towels instead, just to stay safe from bacteria.
The association goes as far as recommending that those who eat in the office bring a refrigerator thermometer and a meat thermometer as well.