Grocery shopping with reusable bags is a great way to cut down on plastic pollution and help the environment. But canvas or plastic grocery bags can also spread bacteria from raw food, including produce and meat, which could cause food poisoning.
“Ideally, you should have enough bags to carry raw foods, ready-to-eat foods and non-food items such as washing powder separately, [and] don’t use the same bags again for ready-to-eat foods or for carrying other household items,” the FSA told the Daily Mail.
Even though raw meat is sealed and seemingly packaged securely, studies have found harmful bacteria on the outside of meat packaging.
Reusable bags, or “bags for life,” are more and more common since many cities now require an additional charge to purchase disposable bags.
But another study recently found that canvas bags are only good for the environment if they are used more frequently over an extended period of time, due to the energy and materials used their production.
Ultimately, reusable bags are an important step toward reducing plastic pollution, and in some cases, even saving money. But as the FSA warns, it’s important to keep reusable grocery bags sterile and safe.