Shopping Habits that Could Make You Sick

April 23, 2015 at 6:38 pm Leave a comment

You may not think of a supermarket cart as a health threat, but it could be – depending on who touched it last. According to a study sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, anything in the supermarket is fair game for harmful bacteria – from raw meat to poultry drippings that could spread easily if the packages aren’t tucked into those plastic bags most markets keep near the meat case. According to the researchers, fewer than 20 percent of shoppers use them. Even fewer people use the hand sanitizer – also common in supermarket meat sections.

All this adds up to quick contamination of anything you touch after you handle meat. The study found that 85 percent of shoppers grabbed their cart handle, 49 percent fingered dry goods, 33 percent handled other meat or poultry, and 31 percent touched a personal item such as a grocery list or their child.

Consumer Reports recommends the following tips to shop safely:

  • Bag it. Use the bags the supermarket provides and sanitize your hands right after handling meat and poultry packaging. Meats in store-wrapped trays and manufacturer-wrapped products can leak if they aren’t sealed well or get small nicks in the plastic as it is transported or handled in the store.
  • Separate it. Keep meats separated from other food in your cart, and be sure the checkout clerk puts it in its own shopping bag. At home, don’t reuse those bags for anything other than garbage.
  • Store it right. Fifty-five percent of shoppers plunk meat and poultry packages in the fridge and freezer, or on another surface – another no-no. Store meat and poultry in leak-proof plastic bags and put them on the bottom shelf of the fridge or freezer so that no juices drip onto other items.

Source: Consumer Reports

Entry filed under: Safety, To Your Health.

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