Do you use reusable bags for our groceries? It’s a great way to cut down on waste and protect the environment. But you may be packing more than food in your reusable grocery bags – as these convenient carrying cases can become contaminated with germs.
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Luckily, a few simple steps can help prevent this.
Infectious disease specialist Susan Rehm, MD, says meats are a common contamination culprit.
She says grocery bags often come into contact with poultry, meats and produce that have bacteria on them.
Cross-contamination can occur when meat, produce, and pre-cooked foods are placed in the same bag.
“Let’s say we’ve had a ‘leaker’, one of our chicken containers, or something like that. Well, that all contains bacteria, which contaminates the bag, so the next thing that goes into the bag can also become contaminated,” Dr. Rehm says.
University of Arizona researchers have found reusable shopping bags can harbor multiple bacteria, including E.coli.
Here are some tips from Dr. Rehm to keep your bags from harboring harmful bacteria:
If you do these simple things, especially wash your bags regularly, you greatly reduce the chance of contaminating your food.