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BTD Forums  /  Journal Club and Literature Review  /  A health cost to reusable grocery bags
Posted by: Lloyd, Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 12:24am

Quoted Text
There is evidence, however, that reusable grocery bags, a common substitute for plastic bags, contain potentially harmful bacteria
Posted by: Spring, Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 12:49am; Reply: 1
The reusables don't look like they could take a whole lot of washing that would eradicate germs. The counters in the groceries give me the creeps, let alone using bags over and over, without a thorough cleaning, that have held groceries from off those germy belts!  :o  I hold my foods that are going to be eaten raw in my hands and hand them directly to the person checking me out. That isn't perfect, but at least I'm trying! Just imagine taking home chicken, beef, etc., in a bag one week, and the next week the same bag gets salad veggies. Ugh!
Posted by: Chloe, Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 1:05am; Reply: 2
I love ECOBAGS reusable cotton rope bags.  Amazon has them....inexpensive....folds up small...holds
a lot...can go in the washing machine.
Posted by: Lin, Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 3:12am; Reply: 3
Chloe, Thanks for pointer.  I had read about issues with the the plastic bags we are all buying getting bacteria, and concluded the cotton ones that can be washed make more sense.  I have a few, but always nice to have extra.
Posted by: Goldie, Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 3:14am; Reply: 4
I use one way plastic bags.. use once then use for trash and be done with.

The belt suggestion here is worth looking at. Thanks.

The reusable bags of cloth is ok, as long as they are clean..
I use extra thin plastic bags for vegetables to put meat packages in it..
Posted by: KimonoKat, Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 9:28am; Reply: 5
Wash your fruits and vegetables when you get home. <3
Posted by: Spring, Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 3:53pm; Reply: 6
I wash stuff anyway, but I don't want turkey in the same bag as something I am going to eat raw. I throw away any bags that contained eggs or meat and recycle the rest. The biggest beef I have, though, is I HAVE tried to use my own bags, but if I don't watch them while I'm trying to load stuff on the belt, they will charge me over and over again for the bags!! I even wrote all over them that THESE ARE MY BAGS, and they still charged for them. The key is getting rid of the bar code, of course. But I got fed up and quit using them. I have all sorts of uses for the plastic ones that aren't full of germs.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 4:17pm; Reply: 7
I read a more in-depth article on this subject a few years ago. The article had an alarmist title warning about the dangers of reusable bags. They compared the bacterial levels of well-used bags to recently laundered bags, and the freshly washed bags had levels close to zero. They didn't specify what kind of washing or the use of antibacterial soap or bleach or anything like that. Just regular laundering.

What I took away from that article, at that time, was "wash your bags."

I've always washed bags used to hold raw meat. After reading the article, I started washing all of my bags regularly. The sturdy cotton ones can go in the dryer, but the more delicate bags need to be hung to dry. I rotate my bags regularly, and each bag gets washed at least once a month. I'll choose a bag that hasn't been washed in 3 weeks to hold my meat and then it gets washed before being returned to my car. All bags get washed after a time if they "look or smell not so clean". At any given moment, up to half my grocery bags might be in the laundry rather than in circulation- but I have about twice as many bags as I need for a large  shopping trip, so it works fine.
Posted by: D.L., Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 11:26pm; Reply: 8
We have to put our garbage in plastic bags for pick up, so I just use the plastic bags I get at the grocery and put my garbage in them. Don't have to buy garbage bags then.
Posted by: TJ, Thursday, February 7, 2013, 12:05am; Reply: 9
Quoted from D.L.
We have to put our garbage in plastic bags for pick up, so I just use the plastic bags I get at the grocery and put my garbage in them. Don't have to buy garbage bags then.
Ditto. And I don't have to worry about how clean they are!
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