This is because often they use the same cloth over and over to clean tables. Now a days with things like MRSA out there you can never be to careful. No matter what you do your toddler will eat off the table! You can't prevent it... Or can you!
I saw these table mats first at Babies R Us then Walmart, Kmart, and now the local grocery store. They are great! They don't cost to much, they are usually friendly to the environment (or at least the package says they are)! They give the kids something to look at, and provide a clean surface for the child to eat on!
The ones I buy are called "Table Toppers" You can also find them on http://www.tabletopper.com/ they are great! And come in many different designs! They easily stick to the table and don't take up much room in the diaper bag! I use them so much that I bought a case similar to the type you use for wet wipes on the go! I can't say enough about these. When it comes to the safety of the kids, well you know!
This is a sample of what the Baby Einstein ones look like (borrowed the pic from table toppers) They have tons of others to choose from as well as tons of other way cool products!
These are not my normal posts and I am not getting paid to post this. I just really love things like this that are simple, but take some of the worry out of life!