In an effort to live a more sustainable and less wasteful existence, many of us have rejected infamous plastic shopping bags for the eco-friendly reusable grocery bags. However, according to microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona, fondly known by his friends and colleagues as Dr. Germ, warnings should come with these bags.
Dr. Gerba notes that because people consider reusable grocery bags eco-friendly or otherwise generally virtuous, they tend to forget that these bags can get dirty and harbor bacteria – like anything else you handle often.
The American Cleaning Institute recommends that you wash bags after each use, following care instructions. Wipe insulated bags with a disinfecting or sanitizing cloth especially along seams. Make sure bags are thoroughly dry before storing. Use separate bags for meat, others for canned goods, produce, etc to prevent cross-contamination.