Never wash their bags


I found an interesting article on Newsmax that may be interesting to Daily News readers. Reusable grocery bags vs. plastic grocery bags.

The ban on plastic grocery bags enacted in San Francisco and several other California communities in 2007 has had an unexpected side effect: an increase in food borne illness, emergency room visits, and even death.

The bans were designed to reduce litter and threats to marine life posed by discarded plastic bags and was meant to encourage the use of reusable grocery bags.

What happened?

The reusable grocery bags that shoppers use instead of plastic bags became a breeding ground for E. Coli and other harmful bacteria according to a new report by university researchers.

The studies were conducted by Jonathan Klick, a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, and Joshua D. Wright, a professor at the George Mason University of Law and Department of Economics.

They state: if individuals fail to clean their reusable bags, E. Coli and other harmful bacteria may lead to the contamination of food transported in these bags. Tests of randomly selected reusable grocery bags found coliform bacteria in 51 percent of them, and E. Coli in 8 percent. According to the researchers’ report, most users did not use separate bags for meats and vegetables and 97 percent said they never wash their bags.

When researchers analyzed data in San Francisco related to E. Coli infections, the results showed a rise in visits to the emergency room for E. Coli infections had risen 25 percent and a 46 percent increase in deaths from food borne illness.

The conclusion of the researchers was: “we find both the deaths and emergency room visits spiked as soon as the ban went into effect.”

My takeaway from the study was, if you use reusable bags, wash them thoroughly each time used and use specific bags for meat and specific bags for vegetables.

Also, I had a thought along this line of groceries.

Does the Health Department (or which ever entity checks grocery stores), check check-out counters we put groceries on for contamination? What brought up this question in my mind is that I was in a large store that sold groceries and walked by a counter that was being worked on and opened so that the bottom part of the counter below the belt was observable. The filth and dirt below that belt and counter was stunning, and I question if there was ever regular cleaning done under the counters. Is there ever a regular Health Department check done under those counters?

Geri Mindok