E. Coli Found In Reusable Shopping Bags

A recent study performed by the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University highlights potential health risks associated with reusable grocery bags. Researchers randomly tested reusable grocery bags carried by shoppers in Tucson, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Harmful pathogens were discovered in 50 percent of the bags that were tested.

According to Charles Gerba, co-author of the study, the levels of bacteria found in the bags were significant enough to cause a wide range of serious health problems and even death. Researchers expressed concern regarding the detection of E. coli in 12 percent of the bags they tested.

Much of the concern surrounding the use of reusable grocery bags stems from the potential for cross-contamination. When certain foods, such as raw meat, are carried in the bag and the bag is used again, before being sanitized, to carry foods which are generally not cooked before they are eaten (such as fruits and vegetables), the bacteria can spread to these foods and lead to serious health problems.

The study also indicated that consumers were largely unaware of these risks, as 97 percent of the consumers interviewed reported that they had never washed or bleached their bags. Researchers indicate that a thorough washing will kill nearly all the bacteria that accumulate in reusable bags.

The full report, “Assessment of the Potential for Cross Contamination of Food Products by Reusable Shopping Bags,” includes tips for consumers who use reusable grocery bags as well as policy recommendations for lawmakers.

The Law Firm of Eric H. Weinberg would like to remind consumers that the best way to stay healthy is to follow safe food handling, preparation, and storage practices and above all, stay informed. To learn more about E. coli food poisoning symptoms and complications, please visit our additional website www.foodpoisoning.com.

If you have been injured as a result of E. coli food poisoning and you have a question concerning your legal rights, please call us toll free at 1-877-934-6274 or click Free Legal Case Evaluation.

For recent outbreak and food recall news, please see Subway Salmonella Outbreak and Major E. Coli Outbreak Recap.


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