Family and Consumer Sciences Education: Reusable Grocery Tote Safety

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   Cloth grocery totes are convenient and environmentally friendly, but could they also be making you sick? Bacteria can build up quickly when certain foods spill and aren’t cleaned – increasing the risk of food poisoning.

   For peace of mind, remember the following tips to help keep your reusable bags good for your health as well as the environment.

•At check-out, put meat, poultry and fish in a plastic bag before placing in a separate tote away from ready-to-eat foods. This will help prevent juices from leaking and contaminating your reusable bags and food.

•Clean all areas where you place your totes, such as kitchen counter or table, to reduce cross-contamination.

•Wash your reusable bag frequently in the washing machine or by hand with hot, soapy water.

•Store totes in a clean, dry location. Avoid leaving totes in the trunk of a vehicle.