Bacteria May Grow In Reusable Grocery Bags, But Don’t Fret : NPR
Oh, fer cryin’ out loud!
Plastic bags are bad for the environment, so I got some of these reusable bags. The article assures me I’m not going to make my family sick by using these, but sheesh - is there no end to all the things that are potentially bad for you?
The trick, it seems, is that you need to wash your reusable bags. Like I don’t already have enough laundry to do!
Bacteria may be hanging out in those reusable grocery bags that have become awfully popular lately. But don’t panic.
An industry-sponsored report find that 97 percent people don’t wash their reusable grocery bags. Even so, the health risks are low.
Yes, a study funded by the American Chemistry Council, which by the way represents some disposable plastic bag makers, found there might be microbes hitchhiking in your reusable bags. But a few germs aren’t likely to pose much of a health risk.
Academic researchers recently tested 84 reusable grocery bags from shoppers in California and Arizona: More than half the bags contained some sort of coliform bacteria, a category that includes Escherichia coli.
University of Arizona microbiologist Charles Gerba, lead author of the report, tells Shots the findings don’t suggest there’s going to be an outbreak of disease from the bags.
Instead, the plastics industry-sponsored work, which found 97 percent of the people interviewed never washed their bags, concludes the public should be educated about keeping them clean.
For what it’s worth, the report came out just as California considers a statewide ban on plastic bags.
Dr. Susan Fernyak, director of San Francisco’s Communicable Disease and Control Prevention division, tells Shots, “Your average healthy person is not going to get sick from the bacteria that were listed.”