As most of you know, I am a big fan of the reuseable grocery bag. I have blogged before about the many wonders of saying no to plastic and carrying a reuseable tote for trips to the grocery store (see past blog here). I even keep my stash of bags in my trunk so that I’m never without them!
I might be a little late with this news, but I was shocked to hear that a new study out by The American Chemistry Council shows that our reuseable grocery bags are hosts to many forms of bacteria and microbes! Researchers for this study took reuseable totes from shoppers as they entered the grocery store for testing. The study showed that all of the bags had some form of microbial growth and that 12% tested positive for E.coli. This bacterial growth can cross-contaminate the food that we put into these bags. I’m not sure about you, but this creeped me out!
There is great news though. This bacteria can be eliminated with a simple washing in the machine. Using laundry soap to wash the bags and hanging them up to dry rids the bags of all detectable microbial growth…what a relief! You better believe that I immediately washed all of my bags and hung them up to dry. An article I read in Better Homes and Gardens August 2010 suggested that you wash your bags every other trip to the grocery store and you should also designate a bag for produce and one for meats, just as you do to cutting boards in the kitchen.
My freshly washed and bacteria-free bags hanging up to dry!
*Just a side note: washing these bags in the machine does not change their shape at all. I was worried about that :).