Sunday, September 29, 2013

Picking Up Germs In The Grocery Store

Would you believe the grocery store is one of the easiest places for you to pick up germs?  With cold, flu, and virus season upon us, remember these tips when going to the grocery store.

  • Take advantage of the hand-wipes available by the door.  Clean the handle of the shopping cart when you go in and get a second wipe for your hands.  You probably handled your cart before you used the wipes!  When people with dirty hands touch your cart or someone sneezes, coughs, or blows their nose while pushing the cart, it is being exposed to germs.  (Remember this applies to shopping carts in all types of stores, not just grocery stores!
  • Meat packages often leak and thus contaminate your cart and anything else nearby in the cart.  Place your meats on the bottom of your cart.  If they leak they won't contaminate other nearby foods, especially produce.   Also they will be the last thing you put on the conveyor belt so if they leak there they won't contaminate your other items.  If the conveyor belt is wet or it appears the last person's meat leaked, ask the cashier to clean the belt. Fresh meats can contain all sorts of stomach causing problems.  Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, spends a lot of time studying germs in public places.  He states that studies show 70% to 80% of shopping carts studied nationwide contained E Coli.
  • Wash fresh vegetables and fruits before using them to eliminate any germs they may have come in contact with.
  • By the way, one of the easiest places for the above germs to hide is in your cloth grocery bags.  If you use those, be sure to wash them after each use!

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