Beware! Your eco bags could be contaminated with E. coli

Do you use eco bags for your groceries? If yes, then you might want to consider taking a look at this.

Eco bags are very popular these days when going to the market or grocery store. Aside from being eco-friendly by cutting down on waste products, they are also strong and convenient to use. But do you know that eco bags impose a health hazard?

eco bags

Researchers from the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University in California have found out numerous food-borne bacteria in reusable grocery bags including E. coli that, when ingested, may cause diarrhea or other illnesses and is very detrimental to public health and safety.

“Our findings suggest a serious threat to public health, especially from coliform bacteria including E. coli, which were detected in half of the bags sampled,” said Charles Gerba, a UA professor of soil, water and environmental science and co-author of the study. “Furthermore, consumers are alarmingly unaware of these risks and the critical need to sanitize their bags on a weekly basis.”

How does this happen? When using an eco bag, it is not easy to sort the grocery items the way brown bags do. This makes vegetables, produce and meat products (which are the common carriers of microorganisms) come in contact with other grocery items. When this happens, cross-contamination may occur. The juice from a contaminated poultry product could be transferred to other grocery items including your eco bag.

In this way, eco bags can also get contaminated with germs and other disease-causing microorganisms. You can just imagine the amount of microorganisms latching on that eco bag you’ve been using for over a month or so!

eco bag

It is necessary for the public to be informed on how to take care of the grocery bags we use. To help prevent the spread of certain germs from your eco bag, there are ways you can do to get rid and protect your family from opportunistic microorganisms.

1. Wash your eco bags regularly

Regularly washing your eco bags, just like how you wash your clothes regularly, can wash off or kill germs that have been transferred from your grocery items. Be sure to wash them with anti-bacterial detergent soap or bleach and clean water.

2. Use different bags for different grocery items

Dry items should have their own bag and should not be mixed with vegetables, produce, fish or meat products to avoid cross-contamination of microorganisms.

3. Put a label on your bags

The eco bag you have used for meat products should always be the bag used for the same items on your next trip to the market or grocery store. Putting a label on them can help make your job easier in sorting items and stop the spread of germs.

4. Avoid putting or storing your eco bag in hot or warm places like in the trunk of your car

Warm places are ideal for microorganisms to easily multiply and spread. Better put your bags somewhere dry and far from the heat.

With the rising use of eco bags, it is very important for the public to be informed of the possible health hazards it may cause. Putting an extra mile on taking care of these items would not only protect us but also makes us responsible consumers.

Featured photo courtesy of Book Sox
Vinz Eusala

A travel enthusiast, adventurer, wander thinker, and photographer wannabe who wakes up every morning and thinks everyday above ground is a great day. Offer him pizza and milk tea and you're friends for life!