Reusable grocery bags: How to keep ’em clean while going green
The trend of swapping disposable grocery bags for cloth and plastic-lined reusable bags has become an increasingly popular “green” alternative.
Reusable bags reduce waste, true — but how safe are they for your health?
The problem with such bags is that the fabric or materials in reusable grocery bags can get contaminated with germs like Salmonella or E coli from food or other items. These bacteria could then contaminate other things that you carry, making you and your family sick.
Place reusable shopping bagson the bottom shelf of the grocery cart (below the cart basket where food products are placed).
Use separate bags: For example, dedicate one bag to meat, fish or poultry; one for dairy products; one for fresh fruits and vegetables, and another for ready-to-eat foods. At a minimum, meat, poultry, and fish should be placed in separate reusable bags from fresh produce and ready-to-eat foods. This will help reduce cross-contamination.
Non-food items should be placed in separate reusable bags from food products.
Always put raw meats into a disposable plastic bag before putting them in a reusable bag. A disposable plastic bag helps contain any juices that drip off of raw meat packages, which can touch other foods and contaminate them. Disposable plastic bags are usually available in the raw meat or produce areas of your store.
Throw away disposable plastic bags used for raw meat immediately after use. Never reuse bags that contained raw meat or poultry.
Remember that cold food needs to be refrigerated within two hours of leaving the store or market. Cold food should be refrigerated within one hour when temperatures outside are above 90 degrees.
At checkout, do not place reusable grocery bags on the conveyor belt. Hand the bags to the checker/bagger or, if self-bagging, carry the bags to the bagging area at the end of the checkout counter.