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Bacteria Rife in Reusable Bags

Bacteria is evident in almost all reusable bags as most consumers never wash them, according to research by the University of Arizona.

The study by University of Arizona microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba found that large numbers of bacteria were found in almost all bags and that coliform bacteria were found in half of those tested.  Some 8 percent of bags contained E. coli, according to the study.

The findings were published in the latest issue of International Association for Food Protection’s Food Protection Trends.

In other shopping bag news, Hilex Poly Co. LLC announced on Oct. 3 that it had filed a lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles. The suit is in response to the County’s decision to ban the use of plastic shopping bags and impose a 10-cent fee on paper carry out bags provided by retail stores, according to Hilex.

Bag manufacturer Hilex is arguing that the 10-cent fee on paper bags is in fact a tax, and, as such, violates California’s State Proposition 26, which requires that state and local taxes be approved by a two-thirds vote in local communities.

A ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags went into effect in Italy on Jan. 1.

Italy, one of Europe’s top consumers of plastic bags, according to a Deutsche Welle’s report, uses more than 300 of them per person per year, or about a fifth of the 100 billion plastic bags used annually across the continent.

Picture credit: lululemon athletica

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7 thoughts on “Bacteria Rife in Reusable Bags

  1. This is a pretty serious issue. Steps must be taken to educate the public on the need to keep their reusable bags clean. Preventing any outbreaks of diseases is definitely easier than treating any cases.

    Juan Miguel Ruiz (Going Green)

  2. I have been bringing my own reusable bags with me to the market now for the past 6 years and I am yet to see any of the germs I am reading about and have NEVER gotten sick. I feel this is all propaganda derived from the people supporting single use plastic bags and should not be taken seriously by anyone. Thanks for the read.
    D

  3. Yeah this study has to be sponsored by the plastic bag industry. It’s bizarre to think that a little bacteria (it’s literally on everything) is a reason to stop using reusable bags.

  4. Charles Gerba has become one of the University of Arizona’s best-known scientists by leading industry-funded studies on a subject relevant to most everyone: where E. coli and other disease-causing microbes lurk in homes, offices and belongings.

    But some critics and colleagues say that while Gerba’s research is educational, it also contributes to misguided marketing campaigns that play into the public’s fear of germs.

    Read more: http://azstarnet.com/news/science/article_266cbedf-2e7f-50e9-92b1-00266035695c.html#ixzz1aUzXGNdQ

  5. Wow, there’s dirty stuff out there!

    Well, gee, I never wash my food – or my hands – before preparing and eating it. What will I do? Should I get some soap? How much should I use?

    Should I start washing my clothes too?

    What about my home – vacuum and all that too?

  6. I agree with the author’s view that reusable bags might have more bacteria IF THEY ARE NOT WASH REGULARLY. But the solution is NOT to discourage the use of reusable bags but to ENCOURAGING WASHING the reusable bags regularly keeping in mind always to practice responsible use of water and detergents.

  7. I think it is irresponsible on EL’s part to publish an article with the headline “Bacteria Rife in Reusable Bags”. Yes, of course there will be bacteria if you don’t wash them. Do you not wash your cutting boards after using them? It never ceases to amaze me the spin that industry can put on an issue and provide flat out false information to confuse and scare the consumer into purchasing their products. Single-use plastic bags are one of the biggest threats to the natural environment and one of the easiest to no longer use! Kudos to all the states and countries banning single use plastic bags, and shame on Hilex Poly. Your misinformation campaigns are contributing to the destruction of our environment.

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