Reusable grocery bags get dirty and can harbor bacteria that you can’t see. Keep your bags clean by following these five tips.

Reusable grocery totes get dirty and can harbor bacteria that you can't see. Keep your bags clean by following these five tips.

I’ve written and talked about food safety a lot over the past two months. I have a good reason for doing so.  Each year, roughly 1 out of 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases.  It is a very important issue that deserves a lot of attention.

Failing to cook food to a safe internal temperature is one reason food-borne illness can occur, but I want to focus on a not so obvious culprit. I’m talking about reusable grocery totes used when food shopping.

Reusable Grocery Tote Bags

Have you ever thought about how dirty reusable grocery totes can get?  Have you ever cleaned yours?  Where do you store your bags between shopping trips?

Reusable grocery totes do get dirty and can harbor bacteria that you can’t see. Food that was carried in those bags can leak or spill, leaving bacteria to multiple in the cloth. That bacteria can get on your hands when you carry the bag. It can also contaminate fresh produce you purchase during future shopping trips.  And, if you are not careful, that bacteria could make you sick.  There are some steps you can take to help keep your bag clean, though.

Five Tips To Keep Your Reusable Grocery Tote Bags Clean

Here are a few tips from the for keeping your grocery totes clean and your family healthy:

Wash Frequently

Wash reusable bags or totes frequently.  If your bags are not machine washable, then wash them by hand with soap and water.

Look For Spills

If you notice that juices from your food have leaked into the bag, make sure to wash them before using them again.

Separate Foods

Place fresh or frozen meat, poultry and fish in separate bags from fresh produce and other ready to eat foods.

Use Plastic Bags For Meats, Poultry And Fish

Before putting your meat, poultry or fish in your tote, first place it in a plastic bags. These bags can often be found in the produce and meat sections. This will help protect your food and tote from any juices that might have leaked.

Clean Counter Space

After putting your groceries away, clean the area where you set your bags to unpack your food, especially the kitchen counter and table

Maintaining clean reusable grocery bags is a big part of food safety. For more food safety tips, check out the Center For Disease Control’s website.

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