Friday, June 22, 2012

Caring for Reusable Grocery Bags

Bringing groceries home in a reusable bag is a simple way to go green and make a positive contribution toward helping the environment. It is also important to know that while moving away from plastic or paper bags is good for the Earth; reusable bags can have food safety short comings if they are not handled properly once the groceries are put away. Joint food safety research conducted at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University in California discovered troubling issues linked to consumer habits related to reusable grocery bags. The research focused on assessing the potential for cross contamination (or the physical movement or transfer of harmful bacteria from one person, object, or place to another) of food products from reusable bags used to carry groceries.

The researchers revealed large numbers of bacteria in almost all bags and coliform bacteria in half. E.coli and other bacteria were found in 12% of the bags. The results show that reusable bags can play a role in the cross contamination of foods if they are not cared for properly. The good news is that there are some simple steps consumers can take to eliminate these potential risks.

These basic safety tips will keep your bags safe and ready for use:
• Put unpackaged produce in disposable bags. Not only can bacteria from the produce contaminate other foods, the produce can pick up bacteria from the bag itself. If the produce is not cooked, the bacteria will survive.
• Never store unwashed, reusable bags in a how car where bacteria can thrive.

Reusable grocery bags are good for the environment, but keep them clean so they can be good for your health too!

No comments: