Friday, June 25, 2010

Research: Reusable Grocery Bags can carry E. coli and other bacteria

This is kind of a "duh" headline but something we need to consider if we are going to help people transition from plastic grocery bags to reusable ones.  Here is the full article.

The research, done as a joint project between Arizona University and Linda Loma University, showed that random samplings of reusable bags used in the Los Angeles area showed coliform bacteria, such as E. coli,  found in half the bags. 

Here is a further pullout from the piece:

The study also found that awareness of potential risks was very low. A full 97 percent of those interviewed have never washed or bleached their reusable bags, said Gerba, who added that thorough washing kills nearly all bacteria that accumulate in reusable bags.
The report comes at a time when some members of the California State Legislature, through Assembly Bill 1998 (Brownley), are seeking to promote increased consumer use of reusable bags by banning plastic bags from California stores.
“If this is the direction California wants to go, our policymakers should be prepared to address the ramifications for public health,” said co-author Ryan Sinclair, Ph.D., a professor at Loma Linda University’s School of Public Health.
The report noted that “a sudden or significant increase in use of reusable bags without a major public education campaign on how to reduce cross contamination would create the risk of significant adverse public health impact.”

I just want to make it clear to people that the Need-a-Bag? Project ALWAYS washes the bags we bring to the market, make no mistake!

Got the article via mistermix at Balloon Juice.
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