Reusable bags contain bacteria, mould: study


Praxius
#1

Plastic bags may not be eco-friendly but one study suggests they could be healthier then the reusable option.

http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/loc...27?hub=Toronto

Quote:

Reusing bags might be good for the environment but an industry lobby group has released a preliminary study that suggests such reused bags are dangerous to our health.

A news release issued Thursday by Food Fight Toronto said an independent study out of Guelph found high levels of bacteria and mould in the one sample bag it tested.

From Nov. 1-18, Guelph Chemical Laboratories took a sample swab from a reusable plastic shopping bag and found an elevated bacteria count of 1,800. A level of 500 is considered safe for water.

"With these counts, the significant presence of coliform and mould especially, you have the potential for bacterial cross-contamination of food," Rupesh Pandey, general manager of Guelph Chemical Laboratories, said in a news release. "It would be similar to carrying your food home in your hands after not washing them all day."

Pandey said the levels are high likely because people don't wash the bags as carefully or as often as they should. He said the bags must be washed in 140 C water to be free of any germs -- a temperature higher than most dishwashers reach (water boils at 100 C).

The bag was taken at random from a shopper leaving a grocery store. It had been in use for one year to transport groceries, said the news release.

"We know that a sample size of one is not enough, but one canary in the tunnel is enough to serve as a warning," said Joe Schwarcz, scientist and Director of the University of McGill Office of Science and Society.

While Food Fight Toronto submitted the sample to the Guelph laboratory, the facility conducted its test independently, said an official with the organization.

The organization is made up of community groups, retailers and residents who are worried city regulations on packaging will lead to increased costs.

Suggested reforms

On Wednesday, Toronto Mayor David Miller said he had the backing of major grocers in imposing a five-cent charge on customers for each plastic bag they use.

"This is a major step forward in our efforts to reduce waste," Miller said. "The city approved a set of recommendations designed for the city to meet its goal. The recommendations are bold but our targets are ambitious and require bold actions."

On Dec. 1, city council will vote on a number of reforms that tackles in-store packaging, waste and litter. Among some of the reforms that are proposed:

  • A ban on the sale of bottled water at civic centres
  • Food retailers who use plastic take-out containers need to develop by 2010 a reuseable/refillable take-out container.
The city would ban the sale or distribution of plastic take-out food containers that are not compatible with Toronto's blue-bin program.

Industry representatives are asking council to reconsider the reforms at next week's council meeting.

'Undermines credibility'

Small grocers and food retailers are vehemently opposed to the proposed changes, arguing the cost of revamping their food containers is too high for the current economic conditions.

Stephanie Jones, the vice-president of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, said the city has not done enough research on the impact the changes would have on food safety.

"Restaurants can't accept containers in the kitchen if they don't know if they've been washed properly," she said. "The absence of food safety analysis in the report undermines its credibility."

She cautioned that the city and the restaurant industry would be exposed to expensive legal costs if food safety was undermined.

Instead of the reforms, Jones urged the city to move towards expanding their recycling program rather than setting restrictions on vulnerable small businesses.

"These proposals are heading in the wrong direction," she said. "It's adding costs an industry that is already struggling."

However, the city is adamant on reaching its waste-diversion goal.

Miller has vowed to divert 70 per cent of the city's waste from landfills. In 2007, Toronto diverted 42 per cent of its waste.

Dumbasses.... so quick to jump to a quick and easy solution to look good, like always, they overlook the big things and will only make things worse overall.

But it makes sense that those bags can build up bacteria and mold...... it'd be no different then continually using the same underwear over and over without washing them...... and how often do you wash your reusable bags?

Apparently it doesn't matter how often you do, because they explained above that it's kinda impossible to remove all of the bacteria and mold unless you cook the buggers.
 
scratch
#2
Well I have four plastic woven recycled bags from Giant Tiger and have washed them all twice. The last time I was at G.T. they replaced them with newer more sturdy bags that apparently where not washable but when thread bare will be replaced at any Giant Tiger, free of charge.
Last edited by scratch; Nov 28th, 2008 at 11:48 AM..Reason: add info
 
Tonington
#3
The solution is called chlorine, and it's found in household products like bleach. The most important factor is contact time, for any disinfectant. It's only common sense to disinfect anything that comes into contact with various foods...
 
scratch
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Tonington View Post

The solution is called chlorine, and it's found in household products like bleach. The most important factor is contact time, for any disinfectant. It's only common sense to disinfect anything that comes into contact with various foods...

Ton,

Good answer.
rgs
scth
 
TenPenny
#5
When we use re-useable bags, we dont use them for fish, meat, etc. We use plastic bags for those items.

Plastics do have a place in our world, despite what some politicians might think.
 
scratch
#6
Yup, and 10,000 yrs to disintegrate in a dump.
 
talloola
#7
One can name all the disinfectant products on the market, but there are some people who don't
wash much of anything, and many of those use-again bags will be brought into the stores
many many times, they get put on the bagging counter,and the cashiers handle them, the baggers handle them, etc.
But, also I notice that the baskets get real dirty, I mentioned it one time only to the
customers service, and she agreed with me, and the next time they were all washed, but
they still become very dirty, sometimes I go through a few of them before I can find one
that isn't all stained and marked.
Maybe I have to start taking my disinfectant cloth with me and wipe the basket out before
I use it.
Some stores have little disposeable towellettes to wipe handles of shopping carts before you
use one.
I use plastic bags, and save them for recycling, with exception of a few that I put garbage in.
I suppose just a 'sign', very noticeable, requesting people with cloth bags to please bring them
into the store 'clean', might work.
 
Praxius
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Tonington View Post

The solution is called chlorine, and it's found in household products like bleach. The most important factor is contact time, for any disinfectant. It's only common sense to disinfect anything that comes into contact with various foods...

Wouldn't that eventually break down the bags over time if they kept getting bleached? Then you have to chuck out those bags loaded with bleach chemicals in them and get new ones or eventually have your food on the ground..... how much more of a benifit would be gained from that?
 
scratch
#9
2 `air points.
 
talloola
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Praxius View Post

Wouldn't that eventually break down the bags over time if they kept getting bleached? Then you have to chuck out those bags loaded with bleach chemicals in them and get new ones or eventually have your food on the ground..... how much more of a benifit would be gained from that?

They would only have to be disinfected once in a while, just a good wipe down with a damp warm
cloth, with a little detergent would do most of the time, unless they are really soiled.
 
scratch
#11
No offense Prax but she has a good idea.
 
TenPenny
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by scratch View Post

Yup, and 10,000 yrs to disintegrate in a dump.

So tell me - how do you bring home your meat products? In a paper bag?
 
scratch
#13
Do not eat meat, figure I've saved a few animals in my life.
 
Praxius
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by scratch View Post

No offense Prax but she has a good idea.

No offense taken, I was actually asking a question
 
Praxius
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by scratch View Post

Do not eat meat, figure I've saved a few animals in my life.

Friggin hippy do-gooder! No plastic bags, no meat eating..... geez!! *shakes fist* just messin with ya.
 
Tonington
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by Praxius View Post

Wouldn't that eventually break down the bags over time if they kept getting bleached? Then you have to chuck out those bags loaded with bleach chemicals in them and get new ones or eventually have your food on the ground..... how much more of a benifit would be gained from that?

Eventually break down, yes. Though the concentration of hypochlorite in household bleach isn't very strong to begin with. That fabric bag can be reused how many times compared to a stretched and ripped polyethylene bag? Probably hundreds of times versus maybe 10 (probably more like 1-3). If you're worried about bleach, you can use hydrogen peroxide.
 
#juan
#17
Reusable bags contain bacteria, mould: study

Interesting: Where does the bacteria come from? Does it come from the groceries that were put in the bag when it was new? Does it come from the hands of the people using the bags? Can we assume the bags were bacteria free when new?

The information comes from an "industry lobby group" Is there a chance that the bag makers want to sell more bags?
 
Tonington
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan View Post

The information comes from an "industry lobby group" Is there a chance that the bag makers want to sell more bags?

Nooooooooooooooo.......
 
Just the Facts
#19
I've seen plastic bags blown in by the wind that end up half buried in soil over the winter that basically crumble when I pull them out of the ground. I don't see what the big deal is. If they sit in the landfill for 10000 years, let them, what's the harm. The biggest benefactor of a ban will be Glad for their kitchen catchers.

Just as an aside, there is a bacteria that has evolved to consume nylon. Nylon has been around for less than 100 years I think. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before some microbe figures out it can make a good living on a plastic bag. I think the ones in my yard have already.
 
Tonington
#20
The flavobacterium I believe you're referring to doesn't actually digest nylon, but by-products from nylon. Earlier this year a Canadian kid also isolated a bacterium that can degrade polyethylene bags, by nearly half in a couple of months.

In any event, bacteria also consume cyanide, but dumping that isn't a good idea either. Ecologically this is a poor argument. Human interventions of this sort, think of invasive species, are almost always net negative.
 
mit
#21
It is not the plastic bag manufacturer or the bottled water seller that is the evil one in these times. They are producing a product that consumers want and their products left over packaging can be recycled quite easily - landfilling these containers is wrong but who is throwing them out - consumers of course - So instead of putting restrictions on manufacturers - perhaps the consumer needs to start being charged more for their garbage - That way if they choose to reduce it saves resources - ifthey choose to recycle it offers opportunities for new products and if they choose to toss it in the trash they will pay.
 
Walter
+3
#22  Top Rated Post
I hope the ban on plastic bags goes the way of the dinosaur.
 
Mowich
+3
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by Walter View Post

I hope the ban on plastic bags goes the way of the dinosaur.

Looks like you got your wish............if only temporarily, Walter. Save-On here in BC just banned the use of cloth/reusable bags and is giving out plastic ones free of charge.
 
Walter
+1
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by Mowich View Post

Looks like you got your wish............if only temporarily, Walter. Save-On here in BC just banned the use of cloth/reusable bags and is giving out plastic ones free of charge.

Virtue signalling is so poseur.
 
taxslave
+1
#25
Which cutting board holds the most germs, wood or plastic?
 
Mowich
+2
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by Walter View Post

Virtue signalling is so poseur.

I prefer having my bags as full as possible to cut down on the number I have to carry. I find that the cloth loops on reusable bags are much easier on my hands. Simple as that.
 
Mowich
+2
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslave View Post

Which cutting board holds the most germs, wood or plastic?

Plastic

"According to Rodale News, expert Dean O. Cliver, PhD from University of California, Davis, conducted research on the subject and found that wood cutting boards contained less salmonella bacteria than plastic. On wood cutting boards, the bacteria sank "down beneath the surface of the cutting board, where they didnít multiply and eventually died off." On plastic boards, however, bacteria got caught in knife grooves that were near impossible to clean out, whether the board was washed by hand or dishwasher. So while sparkling new plastic cutting boards might be easy to disinfect, any weathered plastic board will hold onto bacteria.'

www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/wood-or-plastic-cutting-board_n_6133318
 
Twin_Moose
+1
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by Mowich View Post

I prefer having my bags as full as possible to cut down on the number I have to carry. I find that the cloth loops on reusable bags are much easier on my hands. Simple as that.

I was forced to buy a reusable at Safeway I asked what do I do with the bag if it rips or wears out, the cashier says just bring it back and we will give you a new one. Then I asked what they did with the bags that can't be used, the cashier says I don't know.
 
taxslave
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by Mowich View Post

Plastic
"According to Rodale News, expert Dean O. Cliver, PhD from University of California, Davis, conducted research on the subject and found that wood cutting boards contained less salmonella bacteria than plastic. On wood cutting boards, the bacteria sank "down beneath the surface of the cutting board, where they didnít multiply and eventually died off." On plastic boards, however, bacteria got caught in knife grooves that were near impossible to clean out, whether the board was washed by hand or dishwasher. So while sparkling new plastic cutting boards might be easy to disinfect, any weathered plastic board will hold onto bacteria.'
www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/wood-or-plastic-cutting-board_n_6133318

You cheated. I read this over 20 years ago and asked several camp cooks. Not one got it right.
 
Mowich
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by Twin_Moose View Post

I was forced to buy a reusable at Safeway I asked what do I do with the bag if it rips or wears out, the cashier says just bring it back and we will give you a new one. Then I asked what they did with the bags that can't be used, the cashier says I don't know.


If you want to know what happens to those bags that are not usable, I'd ask the manager, TM.
 

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