Safety Tips for Reusable Bags: Avoid Food-Borne Illnesses
While using reusable cloth shopping bags is good for the environment, taking sensible precautions will ensure it is also good for our health. Health Canada (hc-sc.gc.ca) states that with more consumers choosing to carry reusable shopping totes, it is important to employ food safety practices to avoid the risk of cross-contamination and food-borne illness caused by dirty bags.
Foods like raw meat, poultry and fish, as well as fresh produce, can contain or carry bacteria, viruses or parasites that cause illnesses. Be sure to wrap fresh or frozen raw meat, poultry or fish in a clear plastic bag first, and then carry them in a separate shopping bag, away from the rest of the family groceries.
When reusing cloth or plastic bags, the Canadian agency recommends that we wash them frequently with natural soap and hot water, especially after carrying fresh produce or meats. After cleaning the bag, allow it to dry completely before storing it. This prevents mold from growing inside the bag. Finally, if a bag gets too soiled or stains cannot be removed, it’s better to part with it than risk getting sick from using it again.