The University of Arizona and Loma Linda University recently conducted a survey on the cleanliness of reusable grocery bags. The researchers stopped shoppers heading into grocery stores and asked them how often, if at all, did they wash their bags? The statistics were astounding. About 97% of shoppers said they seldom if ever washed their reusable bags.
Those shoppers admitted to putting all food items in the bags together. They also use those same bags for other non-food related errands. The researchers then took 84 of the bags and had them tested for traces of bacteria. There was bacteria found in all but one bag. The researchers even found traces of the E. coli virus in some instances.
When the researchers wrote their report, they stated that one problem was the fact that uncooked meat and fruits and vegetables were carried in the same bag. While this information may be used by supporters of plastic bags, the researchers also discovered that washing the bags eliminated the bacteria.