Washable Grocery Totes (left side of the photo) could be one of the healthiest choices you make. Cute printed totes made from recycled plastic (the blue one in the photo) are almost irresistible. They’re bright, cheerful, memorable of a place or season. I used to have a lot of them, until I realized I couldn’t throw them in the washing machine for a hot water wash. Oh you can wipe them out with sanitizer, but I’m talking about a hot water wash cycle in the washing machine.
Did you know you could get food poisoning from your bag?
Most people don’t think about washing their grocery tote bags. You wouldn’t use the same dish towel over-and-over, or a cutting board without washing it, or eat several meals from the same dirty plate! Germs and bacteria build up, especially if you are buying meat and dairy. Many times fresh greens are damp with dirt still on the stem.
The Food Followed the Money
I was talking about this subject with a checkout lady at my favorite store. She shared a few of her experiences, telling me she has opened some of those plastic recycled totes and almost gagged at the smell and filth. One bag she opened was full of money. “Oh, that’s where I put those twenties,” said the customer, as she quickly pulled the money out and put damp produce in.
Buy Cotton Tote Bags
The best tip about totes, is to buy cotton bags that can be washed on the hot cycle. Wash them after each use. While they may not have had damp produce or meat in them, you could have set the bag in the child seat of the cart following a baby with a dirty diaper, or someone’s dog. These bags carry your food. Turn your bags inside out, and toss in the washing machine after each trip to the store.
I have found wonderful bags at Craft Stores, with pockets; great for bringing those apples home, or stashing a garlic, and several styles had a top zipper.
So, next time you are looking for grocery tote bags, get the washable ones. Recycled plastic material, and burlap can be cute, but they just aren’t practical when it comes to food safety.