This article is completely freaking me out! Reusable cloth grocery bags could make you and your family sick if you don't wash them frequently...
That's simply because harmful levels of bacteria can accumulate on cloth bags. The main risk from bacteria is, of course, food poisoning, but skin infections and allergic reactions may also occur.
A study in Canada collected and tested reusable bags from a random sampling of consumers on the street. Researchers found that:
- 40 per cent of the bags had yeast or mold.
- Nearly 30 percent had bacterial counts higher than what is considered safe for drinking water.
- Some of the bags had intestinal faecal bacteria embedded on the surface of the bag.
The lesson here? Please, please wash your cloth bags once a week, especially any that were used to carry meat, poultry, or fish.
Other tips for keeping reusable bags clean include: Store them in a clean dry environment. Designate a particular use for each bag—produce, diapers, groceries, gym clothes, etc.
The bottom line: Cloth bags are more eco-friendly than plastic bags; you just need to take a few precautions when using them.
How often do you wash your reusable bags?