We’ve all heard plenty of scary stories about recent food recalls.
Things from bagged lettuce to chicken and even frozen veggies have been found to be contaminated with pathogens like Salmonella and Listeria.
But as some recent studies have found, there are other ways your food can become contaminated. In fact, you can accidentally do it yourself while shopping.
It’s something that most of us probably never think about. And it can easily make you and your family sick.
Shopping cart handles are crawling with bugs
Researchers from the University of Arizona found that the first supermarket precaution to take starts right with that shopping cart. Yes, just as we suspected that handle is filthy.
It could even harbor deadly microbes such as E. coli that you could inadvertently transfer to food you’re handling.
The fix for this potential food contamination, however, is simple. Take one of those antibacterial wipes most all stores have by the carts and give the handle a good wipe down. Then, wait 20 seconds for it to air dry.
Otherwise, you’ll just be smudging the bacteria all over it and onto your hands and eventually your food.
3 more tips to fight food contamination & food poisoning
Other precautions experts say to take to avoid food contamination while shopping include:
1. Bag that meat and chicken before it goes in your cart:
While you might think it’s been tightly wrapped, some nasty germs could be residing on the outside of that package.
Tiny leaks in the wrapping can also contaminate other foods in your shopping basket. Especially ones that will be eaten without cooking.
2. Resist temptation at the deli counter:
You know how the saying goes, “don’t shop when hungry.” Well, that really applies at the deli counter!
Researchers from Purdue University have found a microorganism called Listeria monocytogenes in a tenth of the samples they obtained from deli foods and from surfaces of things like those meat and cheese-slicing machines.
3. Is your reusable bag really clean?:
If you’re a BYO bag type, researchers found that around half of all reusable shopping bags contain bacteria that’s serious enough to cause diarrhea and vomiting.
That can come from carrying meat, chicken and even produce. If your reusable bags are cloth, put them in a hot wash between shopping trips. Other kinds can be wiped down with an antibacterial towelette.
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
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