Many stores have recently started cutting back on paper and plastic bags for environmental reasons, but if you’re hauling the same reusable bag back and forth to your car, it could be making you sick.
The UK’s food standards agency just updated agency guidelines and suggests separating foods into three separate bags depending on category: raw foods, ready to eat foods and household items.
Why? Well, a 2013 study from the University of Arizona found that almost all reusable bags contain large amounts of bacteria.
Even worse, 12% contained E. coli.
HOW TO KEEP REUSABLE BAGS CLEAN
Label your bags. Use raw foods in one bag, meat in another, packaged goods in another, etc. This will avoid cross contamination because even the packaging and bagging on raw foods can have bacteria.
Wash and replace bags regularly. Obviously if you`re washing regularly, you can replace your bags less.
And this is really important, avoid leaving meat in the bag in the car. Even if meat juices are leaking and left in your bag for only 2 hours in the car, the bacteria can spread by 10x or more – so be mindful of when you grocery shop and bring in the meat labeled bag first.