I volunteer at my local farmers’ market where I’ve gotten to know many of the farmers. One farmer told me about the rules and regulations for vending at the market, all designed to keep food clean and safe. That’s reassuring, but he also expressed his frustration that no matter what he does to keep food clean, there is always someone who touches the produce with dirty hands or who sneezes on it. It is obviously important to wash your produce before eating or cooking with it, but he also thinks that reusable shopping bags are part of the problem with food contamination. Our conversation inspired me to write this post.
It’s exciting to see the reusable bag movement catching on, but it is imperative to wash the bags just like anything else when it gets dirty. Canvas bags can be washed in the washing machine on hot and then dried in the dryer. Recycled plastic bags should be washed by hand with warm soapy water (don’t forget the seams where grime can collect). Nylon bags should be washed inside out by hand in warm soapy water and air-dried. Occasionally you will need to replace the bags with new ones.
Two more important points
- Use separate reusable bags for meats and produce.
- Never keep your bags in your car or trunk. Heat can cause the bacteria to breed even faster.
Do you wash your bags? If so, great. If not, don’t let the idea of washing your reusable bags deter you from continuing your new eco-conscious habit. It’s as easy as washing your dirty clothes!
Some information compiled from http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/
For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.