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Plastic Association Takes Aim at Reusable Grocery Bags

This morning I was tipped off to a new article over at Self called "The Dirty Truth About Reusable Shopping Bags." It cites a study that found "64...


This morning I was tipped off to a new article over at Self called "The Dirty Truth About Reusable Shopping Bags." It cites a study that found "64 percent of reusable bags are contaminated with at least some bacteria, 30 percent have elevated bacteria counts that are higher than what is considered safe for drinking water, and 40 percent have mold and/or an unacceptable presence of coliform." As someone who's had E. coli, I can say that food-borne illness is not something to mess around with. But hold on a minute.The link to the study is broken, but it leads to a media page on the Canadian plastics association's website. They're cleverly called Environment and Plastics Industry Council, but really it's the trade organization that lobbies for and represents the plastics business. A little Googling seems to indicate that the study Self cites is actually a year old, and that even though the results were provided by "two independent laboratories," the study was commissioned and funded by the EPIC.But let's say the study's findings are true-that the bags sampled had bacteria from food in them, and that that bacteria isn't the sort of thing you want to be ingesting along with your farmer's market vegetables-it still doesn't mean that the bags are at fault, or that the average consumer is rubbing their produce along the seams of their bags, where the bacteria seemed to collect.But beyond that, I think it's fair to say that any reasonable person regularly washes anything that comes into contact with their food-like cutting boards, for example, or dinner plates. Or, you know, the things they carry their groceries in.If there's a takeaway from that link it's not that your reusable bags are poisoning you, it's that you should check your sources before getting wound up about new studies, and you should probably wash your reusables on a regular basis.Image (CC) by Flickr user Mommypeace
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