Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal

Welcome to Inside the Newsroom @ A2 Journal, a blog written by the newspaper's staff at A2 Journal, a new, weekly, community newspaper covering Ann Arbor. This blog is a place for members of the newspaper's staff to write their thoughts, observations, opinions and other informative pieces they put together while covering the rich history, interesting people, institutions and traditions that make Ann Arbor such a unique community.

Friday, June 25, 2010

June 25 - Lisa's Musings (on trying to do the right thing) And Every Day Life

Here's a little word to the wise for people who are trying to do the right thing and, well, possibly making themselves sick in the process.

According to a recent study, reusable grocery bags can serve as a breeding ground for dangerous food-borne bacteria and pose a serious risk to public health.

This according to a joint food safety report issued by researchers at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University.

Researchers randomly tested reusable grocery bags carried by shoppers in the Los Angeles area, San Francisco, and Tucson and found consumers were almost completely unaware of the need to regularly wash their bags.

And, although it's interesting info, I think the study was a knee-jerk reaction to a possible ban on plastic bags in the LA-area.

So, really, how many times have you washed your cloth shopping bags?

Maybe it's just out west but, the findings suggest a serious threat to public health, especially from coliform bacteria including E. coli, which were detected in half the bags sampled.

Humm ... those plastic ones I always feel slightly guilty about requesting -- well, they're looking better and better to me. Besides, I reuse them for small garbage can liners.

So, 97 percent of those interviewed said they never washed or bleached their reusable bags. And, that would include me, had I been interviewed. Who woudda thought to do this?

The good news is washing the reusable bags kills nearly all bacteria that accumulate in them, according to the study.

So, here are some tips for their use since lots of you want to do your part to be green.

1. Wash your reusable bags after each use. (So that means you need to have a whole bunch of them, so there are always clean ones and you're not doing wash all the time)

2. Separate raw foods from other food products. (And don't forget to tell the nice people who pack your groceries at the store before they get to work.)

3. Don't use your grocery bags to carry other stuff like books, magazines or clothing. (So now you can label them ala Martha Stewart.)

4. Store them somewhere cool and not in your car. Good luck with that. I'll probably forget to have them with me because by storing them in my van, they are always there with those higher temperatures promoting the growth of bacteria in them.

I'll feel a lot less guilty asking for plastic at Polly's tomorrow.

Especially since I have a health study to back up my non-green choice.

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