Everyone wants to use cloth, reusable bags. Everyone believes that these bags are much, much better than both plastic and paper bags. They don’t destroy the environment, they can be used for many other things besides grocery shopping, and they can be decorated and customized for each person. But a new review by the Environment and Plastics Industry Council (EPIC) recently announced that reusable cloth bags can be dangerous!
EPIC conducted their research after Toronto considered putting a ban on plastic bag usage. What did EPIC’s study reveal? According to them, a reusable bag may contain much more mold and TPC than used Tupperware! If just a bit of water or other moisture gets inside one of these bags, it can create the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. This is because the inside of these bags are dark and many people leave them in their cars. During the warm months, the temperature in the car can get quite high, creating a warm, moist environment.
What this means is that food can get contaminated if the bags are used over and over without being cleaned. Because yeast has been found in these bags, there’s a very good chance that other microbes are also growing inside the bag. This can result in food poisoning or worse. According the EPIC’s study, at least three out of every 25 bags examined had coliform contamination in them.
How can you help protect against this? Wash your reusable bags on a regular basis. Make certain meats and any other food that may leak is wrapped tightly and securely. Don’t leave your bags out in the hot car, either. Remember that these bags are, in a way, like your dishes—you wouldn’t eat off of a dirty plate, so don’t put your food in a dirty bag.