If you’re like me, you probably have a stack of the grocery store reusable bags around the house. When they first became popular, I would buy them then forget to take them back to the store, so I would buy more. Today they come in so many styles and colors that I buy them just to have a cute bag to tote things around in.
I never would have imagined these bags could pose a danger to my health. Unfortunately, studies have shown these bags harbor bacteria like the dangerous e coli. That means when they are re-used, there is a real risk of contaminating my food. Luckily, there is an easy fix for the problem.
For one thing, when you buy lose items at the store such as bananas or apples, be sure to put them in a protective plastic bag, so they won’t come in contact with your reusable bag when you pack them up. You can even buy special bags for this purpose if you don’t like the idea of using plastic bags, and then rewash them after each use.
Also, be sure to slide meat products into plastic bags. I always put my hand inside a plastic bag and grab the package of meat with my protected hand and then slide the bag down over the package. That way nothing, including my hands, comes in contact with meat or chicken packages. If you have different colored bags, you can designate one for meat and the other for produce.
Then, when you get your grocery home, throw your bags into the washer and dryer, so they are ready to go on your next shopping trip, clean and free of germs. If you delay washing, it gives the germs the time to build up a thriving colony.
In addition to germs, it has also been on the news about some of the decorated reusable bags having unsafe levels of lead in them. So before you buy those cute seasonally decorated bags, talk to the store manager and see if they have addressed the problem with lead levels. After all, you are using the bags to help the environment, but you don’t want to make yourself sick in the process.