Food Safety risks from Reusable Grocery Bags

Just when I finally got myself trained to remember to take my
reusable "green" grocery bags to the store (at least most of the time),
I read a report on "food safety threats" from them!  Apparently, reusing the bags can result in the accumulation of coliform bacteria and molds.

Before you trash all those bags, however, please keep in mind that the study was funded by the Environment and Plastic Industry Council (I read that as a vested interest in plastic bags).  And it appears that no E. coli or salmonella were found in the tests.  

Still, common sense should come into play:

  • Put potentially leaky items, such as meat, or dirt-bearing produce in a separate bag before placing in a reusable bag. 
  • Wash your bags after multiple uses, turn inside out and air dry,
    preferably in the sun to allow UV rays to help the sterilization
    process.
  • Replace your bags if they become moldy, smelly or stained
  • Wash all foods placed in direct contact with a reused bag

No reason not to keep using those bags.  In many industrialized countries, green bags are the norm, not the exception.

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