Friday, November 5, 2010

Tests Show Most Reusable Shopping Bags Surprisingly Filthy

From WHEC-10 (Rochester, NY).

"The reusable bags many of us use when we go to the grocery store are good for the environment, but they might not be good for your health.

Many of us never think to clean them, which means we're toting a lot more than groceries.

It got us thinking and we decided to put bags to our own test.

We collected several bags from shoppers at random and tested them.

The results we found were gross.

"They were very, very germy. Some bags were definitely worse than others," said Dr. Rolf Knoll, the chief medical officer at St. Francis Hospital.

Technicians used swabs to test five bags for bacteria and one of them tested positive for fungus.

Others had dozens of colonies of bacteria inside.

"Specifically we found diphtheroids, bacillus, staph epidermidis," Dr. Knoll said.

In layman's terms, it's the same stuff you'd find on a dirty countertop.

"I've never washed them before. That's a really good point," said shopper Marzena Mocarski."


"Doctors recommend washing your reusable bag or wiping it out with bleach after each use.

"Even more importantly, wash the food that comes out of them before you eat them. That's the most important thing," Dr. Knoll said."

My own personal experience with these bags is that they AREN'T MADE TO BE WASHED. One of those $1.99 ones available in any grocery store are made with material that's used to cover the undersides of box springs--NOT MEANT FOR WASHING.

The material shrinks badly, then semi-melts in the dryer.

Better alternatives: boxes, plastic crates, backpacks, laundry baskets, or make your own bags out of fabric meant to be washed (like denim). A pillow case will do in a pinch--you can toss that in with the regular laundry.


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