Reusable Bags Could Make You Sick


reusable grocery bagsThis 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.

Um, gross!

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?


Related Posts:

How to Do an Eco-Friendly Move

How to Throw an Eco-Friendly Baby Shower

The Green Doctor is In

healthy habits, illness, safety


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Peajewel Peajewel

Oh wow!  that is pretty freaky....I will go home and wash mine like ten times now!  Ick!

Agent... AgentBrez

i really needed that! i bought mine months ago and have never washed them! yikes!

auror... aurorabunny

I don't use them.  We do use paper but we only grocery shop once a putting that many groceries into totes would be ridiculous.

LoriA... LoriAnn87

I have couple of reusable but I never use them to put my meat in them I mainly use to my milk, drinks, bread or any other kind of food.

RanaA... RanaAurora

Just WASH them.  Most stores will put raw meat in a plastic bag, and then into your cloth bag anyway.

I wash mine about once a month (that's two to five grocery store trips) or as needed.

Lumin... LuminousMom

I would have thought this was common sense.. we wash ours every two weeks, after our grocery trip. And I always put meat products into plastic bags to begin with, and only put meat products together so they dont contaminate the items in the other bags. We bought 10 bags and its just enough to hold two weeks worth of food for our family, plus one or two paper bags for things that wont fit every once and awhile.. but the first thing I do after we unload is stick them in the washer, dry em, fold them up into one, and place them back into my truck for the next time. never occured to me that others dont!

sharo... sharonezell

This is actually a rediculous study and one more "fear". Think about it.  What wouldn't they find these results on. I wonder what your purse would come up. The stroller you push your kids around in, the door knob you touch every day, the steering wheel, the grocery carts. There are germs everywhere guys!  Don't let this freak you out. If it makes you feel better....yes wash them. If you don't they will not have anymore germs than anything else you touch and use daily.   I have a hard enough time getting our clothes laundry done every week. I won't be adding my grocery bags to the list. If you are worried about contamination INSIDE the bag... line it with a plastic or paper bag and throw it out after use. 

RanaA... RanaAurora

It's probably funded by people who manufacter plastic bags.

Jenny... JennyLopez

My parents are from El Salvador and people there use reusable bags (specially if you don't live in the city.) I never saw people washing their bags and they're very healthy people.

diamo... diamondbaby1206

That is so gross.I use reuseable bags and we wash them every week when we shop.But I am a clean freak.We do as much for the enviroment as we possibly can.

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