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Bacteria and Grocery Store Carts!


beans
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Well, if you want to be that way about it, consider this:

Your average shopper walks into a grocery store after just having closed the door to their car, which is exposed to the elements, vindictive pigeons, the occasional slug, and general pollution. The hands are already tainted. They walk into the store, handle 2 or 3 carts to find one without wobbly wheels, maybe grab a sales flyer that has been handled by who knows what, and head for the produce department. There, they pick up and put down several of the items on the top of the piles, contaminating each one. Occasionally, they pick up a piece of produce, and bring it up to their nose. Continuing through the store, they feel a couple of loaves of bread to pick the freshest one, rummage through the dairy case to find the milk with the latest expiration date, etc. etc. etc.

Which is why I wash my produce when I get home. I could care less about the pesticides. But I don't go as far as gloves. Although thinking about it in this detail leaves me feeling a bit skeevy...

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Your average shopper walks into a grocery store after just having closed the door to their car, which is exposed to the elements, vindictive pigeons, the occasional slug, and general pollution.

:laugh:

The vindictive pigeons and occasional slug got me.

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Well, if you want to be that way about it, consider this:

Your average shopper walks into a grocery store after just having closed the door to their car, which is exposed to the elements, vindictive pigeons, the occasional slug, and general pollution. The hands are already tainted. They walk into the store, handle 2 or 3 carts to find one without wobbly wheels, maybe grab a sales flyer that has been handled by who knows what, and head for the produce department. There, they pick up and put down several of the items on the top of the piles, contaminating each one. Occasionally, they pick up a piece of produce, and bring it up to their nose. Continuing through the store, they feel a couple of loaves of bread to pick the freshest one, rummage through the dairy case to find the milk with the latest expiration date, etc. etc. etc.

Which is why I wash my produce when I get home. I could care less about the pesticides. But I don't go as far as gloves. Although thinking about it in this detail leaves me feeling a bit skeevy...

Exposed car handles are the least of your worries on shopping carts. How about the people who rub their eyes, don't wash their hands after using the bathroom, picking thies nose, blowing their nose, picking that piece of pork from between their gums and dentures.... How about them? Then there are the people who don't wash their hands after diapering the baby. TOO many of them.

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All I'm trying to say is people usually don't walk into a grocery store (or home or work or the circus for that matter) with clean hands to begin with. What they are exposed to during normal shopping activities is only adding to the bacteria count.

It's like Two Fat Ladies used to say, That which does not kill you makes you stronger. Most people with healthy immune systems fight off thousands of potential infections a day. The more things you are exposed to, the more things you can build up an immunity to.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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I was at brunch on Sunday when I offered the hostess's mother, think OLD Yankee money, a slice of the most delicious persimmon I had ever tasted. She took a wedge, looked at it, raised the corner of her lip and asked me if I had washed it. I told her I had rinsed it -- and that it was organic. She then proceeded to wash the slice of persimmon under hot water while explaining to me the hazzards associated with eating produce. "Anybody -- just ANYBODY could have touched it." I think she would be terribly disappointed to know I wasn't struck down whith hepatitis A. I got quite a jolly out of it, though I don't think she appreciated my laughter.

Aidan

"Ess! Ess! It's a mitzvah!"

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The line that got me was the supermarket that claimed they never had any complaints about it! WELL DUUUUH!!! Has anyone ever been able to isolate when & where they've caught the crud ? Unless you knew damn good and well (wow-a pun) from someone. So they're sayin' "Hey, we don't get complaints, so therefore it doesn't happen." Hello! :blink:

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You would be wrong. If my kid's diaper ever leaked (it has never happened in public) I would of course clean it up.

YOU might very well clean up after your kid. Other people would not bother. And I presume when you say you'd clean up an accident in the shopping cart, you would purchase all manner of cleaning supplies--paper towels, Chlorox, bottled water, sponges, towels and a bucket to mix your solution in?? See what I mean? Cleaning up poop doesn't mean swabbing off the area with a Kleenex that's been in your purse for 2 weeks. It means CLEANING and DISINFECTING. Better "cart" the aforementioned items with you...."just in case." :biggrin:

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Your average shopper walks into a grocery store after just having closed the door to their car, which is exposed to the elements, vindictive pigeons, the occasional slug, and general pollution. The hands are already tainted. They walk into the store, handle 2 or 3 carts to find one without wobbly wheels, maybe grab a sales flyer that has been handled by who knows what, and head for the produce department. There, they pick up and put down several of the items on the top of the piles, contaminating each one. Occasionally, they pick up a piece of produce, and bring it up to their nose. Continuing through the store, they feel a couple of loaves of bread to pick the freshest one, rummage through the dairy case to find the milk with the latest expiration date, etc. etc. etc.

Your average NY City dweller, does the same. However we have developed additional immunity by having travelled via the subway. I get a flu shot every year, but I think I stay healthy because of my mass transit antibodies.

--mark

Everybody has Problems, but Chemists have Solutions.

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Maybe some of the experts could shed some light here, but I'd always thought the over-fastidious avoidance of dirt, bacteria and germs was more potentially dangerous than exposure to them.

You are absolutely right about that. There is such a thing as too clean. I, for one, worry about our recent obsession with all of the anti-bacterial soaps and such. Overuse of antibiotics is another popular rant of mine. We are looking for trouble. Humans evolved in the presence of the germs. With the exception of a few nasties, that we have learned a lot about how to control, they just aren't the spawn of the devil. In fact, without them, life would be impossible.

However, is it too much to ask that the grocery carts, hand baskets and conveyer belts at least get a bit of a wash so that they aren't so visibly and disgustingly grungy?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Well, no it isn't too much to hope that these carts get a hose down or two with a power washer.

But when it comes to the sorts of bacteria as found in "chicken juice" and fecal matter (no matter the source!!!!), then I start my concern, so out comes the antibacterial gel. I guess the Chi Chi's hepatitis outbreak has influenced my concerns with 520 ill, rumours of Chi Chi's filing bankruptcy and three dead as a result. The newest news update reports seeking a foodborne source. Green onions?

typos!!!!!!!

Edited by beans (log)
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I ran across a web site with articles by a syndicated columnist called the Supermarket Shopper. There are two articles about shopping cart (non) cleanliness and a copy of the Inisde Edition report. And he also is soliciting information about "an instance where a child riding in a shopping cart became sick and you suspect the germs came from a dirty cart, or a leaky package of meat."

Dirty Germ Laden Shopping Carts Endanger the Health of Shoppers and their Children

Can Clean Carts Save Lives?  

Most supermarket shopping carts are filthy.  All you have to do is look at them to see the rust, dirt and debris.  The simple fact is, supermarkets rarely clean their carts. But, it may be nasty things you can’t see that should concern you most.  Supermarkets say the carts pose no danger to the health of their customers.  I am convinced they are wrong.  However, it is difficult to prove the danger.  Finding the connection between a cart handlebar that had E-coli on it and a customer who became violently ill a day or two later, is almost impossible.

This column and next week’s column, are a long overdue wakeup call for supermarkets that refuse to acknowledge that filthy cars are a serious health safety problem.  It is also an important message to supermarket shoppers, especially parents of small children that ride in the cart’s seat.   Please save this column. You may want to send both columns to your supermarket.
For the last three years, a cart sanitizing system has been offered by Louisville, Kentucky based Freshcart LLC (formerly Sani-Dryer).  It resembles a mini-car wash.  At a cost to the supermarket of just a few cents a cart, it can provide every shopper with a 99.9 percent germ-free cart.  During these three years only two supermarkets have thought enough of their customers to test it.
CLEAN CARTS CAN SAVE LIVES and they can prevent countless illnesses. It is high time supermarkets wake up and shoulder their responsibility to their customers. To ignore the danger is gross negligence. 

Concerned Parents, Please Read This: Do you know of an instance where a child (or adult) became seriously ill and you suspect the germs came from a dirty shopping cart or a leaky package of meat?

Edited by hillbill (log)
Gustatory illiterati in an illuminati land.
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I don't think I've ever used antibacterial anything. It scares me more than whatever bacteria it allegedly kills.

I ride NYC transit everyday.

I drink tap water too.

I touch grocery cart and handbasket handles.

I eat food from sidewalk vendors.

I wash my hands regularly.

I can't remember the last time I got sick.

All the germaphobes I know -- and work with -- are ALWAYS sick.

Germs are good for ya!

Sherri A. Jackson
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Your average NY City dweller, does the same.  However we have developed additional immunity by having travelled via the subway.  I get a flu shot every year, but I think I stay healthy because of my mass transit antibodies.

You get bonus immunity if you visit a subway restroom.

PJ

Edited by pjs (log)

"Epater les bourgeois."

--Lester Bangs via Bruce Sterling

(Dori Bangs)

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Well, no it isn't too much to hope that these carts get a hose down or two with a power washer.

But when it comes to the sorts of bacteria as found in "chicken juice" and fecal matter (no matter the source!!!!), then I start my concern, so out comes the antibacterial gel. I guess the Chi Chi's hepatitis outbreak has influenced my concerns with 520 ill, rumours of Chi Chi's filing bankruptcy and three dead as a result. The newest news update reports seeking a foodborne source. Green onions?

typos!!!!!!!

Yeah... this is what I mean by us learning to handle the nasties. It just seems to me that our grocery stores are ignoring generally accepted hygeinic practices. If you provide a place for parking baby's butts, you should have a plan for decontaminating said place. If you have packages of leaking chicken juice, you should have a plan for cleaning it up so it doesn't contaminate other food.

An aside... We have all kinds of inspectors going into restaurants. Do they look at this issue in grocery stores? This is not a rhetorical question. I really don't know if they look at things like carts, baskets, conveyor belts, and (I just thought of this) scanners.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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For what it's worth, I saw some carts washed at Albertson's recently. Last week I went to the donut shop to bring a dozen in to the folks who were working on my car, the guy behind the counter sneezed into his arm as I was walking in, then asked me what I wanted. I politely asked him to wash his hands because he had just sneezed, he did without fuss or attitude-otherwise I would have walked out.

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  • 6 years later...

I ran into the type of thing that really frosts me at the Supermarket here in Queens. I was going to buy some berries and there was a woman there who was picking the berries out of one container and putting them into another that she was going to buy. The ones she didn't want she put back into one to put on the counter. Then she did the same to bunches of grapes, taking them from one bag and putting the ones from another she did not want into one to go to the shelf. She worked her way all through the produce department doing this so she had all the perfect fruit and veggies. She was using her bare hands to do all this stuff. Really disgusted me to see her doing this - and she thought it was perfectly fine to do so.

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Here is an idea.

I recently saw a man solve the problem with slimy/bloody packages of meat. He took a plastic bag off the roll, and stuck his hand in it, like it was a glove. He used this "gloved" hand to select the package of chicken he wanted, and then turned the bag inside out over that package, thus enclosing the meat and any accompanying slime. His hand, the cart, etc, remained clean and dry. He didn't touch anything in the display case with his hand.

I now do this too, and I watch the people who watch me. Some follow suit.

I just started using this technique when selecting vegetables in situations where my hands would have to touch veggies that I didn't purchase. Like when green beans are just set out en masse without any tongs. People look at me strangely but I think it is a good idea. I am not particularly germ-phobic but watching people snack their way through the grapes and then lick their fingers on their way to the bin of green beans grosses me out.

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I am curious as to whether grocry stores are any better about hygiene in your part of the world than they were when this topic was started in 2003?

Where I live Wal-Mart is probably the only one that does not have anti-bacterial wipes at the entrance so you can wipe down your cart. Most also have plastic bags and paper towels at the case for poultry and meat. One now has hand-sanitizer at the entrance.

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I don't think I've ever seen anti-bacterial wipes for carts or hand sanitizer dispensers in a New York food market. At our local Stop-n-Shop in Queens, I've noticed that there are napkin dispensers in the meat section, but they only contain napkins about half the time.

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