Since you're eco-aware you probably use cloth bags for your groceries, instead of disposable plastic.
"Food poisoning can easily be prevented with practical steps, such as cleaning grocery totes and separating raw meats from ready-to-eat foods when shopping, cooking, serving and storing foods," Frechman says.
According to Frechman, bacteria can be eliminated by: • Frequently washing your grocery tote, either in the washing machine or by hand with hot, soapy water; • Cleaning all areas where you place your totes, such as the kitchen counter; • Storing totes in a clean, dry location; and • Avoiding leaving empty totes in the trunk of a vehicle.
"When grocery shopping, wrap meat, poultry and fish in plastic bags before placing in the tote, and use two different easy to identify totes; one for raw meats and one for ready-to-eat foods," Frechman says.
Wrap meat, poultry, and fish in plastic bags? Wait, doesn't that defeat the point of cloth bags?
I think you mean grocery totes and not garbage totes in the title :-) Athough, in my house we use a bin for kichen scraps, and it does get flies after a while, so we wash it regularly too.
The canvas grocery totes take no effort to wash - I just throw them into my laundry. They shrink a little, but I line dry them so they dont shrink more. The recycled plastic ones fall apart after a while. The ideal would be to make them out of old jeans or khakis, which is essentially the same thing and would be a nice recycle/repurpose.
I bought some many reusable grocery totes since Austin, TX has banned the use of plastic bags .. so I have quite a bunch of bags now. I use them for all sorts of things. I wipe them out with a cloth to wash them.
I've been using reusable totes for 30 years, cotton-plastic-polyester-canvas-vinyl. I wash them less than once a year. Fear mongering generally does not carry messages pertaining to truth and science. Rather, fear mongering is generally propaganda, usually pushing another issue. Fear mongering against totes is such a case. It will never be normal to get food poisoning from totes. And if ever something deadly did find its way onto a tote bag, washing it weekly or monthly would not help. Stores like bags because it is advertising. Stores also don't like totes because they feel that clients have a better opportunity to thieve. Both are valid from the store's perspective. It does not not mean that what is valid for their needs must dictate customer behaviour. Not unlike when we say that females do not have to behave according to males' expectations :)
Oregon investigators recently mapped the trail of an outbreak of a nasty stomach bug among participants in a girls' soccer tournament to a reusable open top grocery bag stored in a hotel bathroom.
The investigation confirmed the great potential for contamination of surfaces in norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships, in nursing homes, and in other group settings. "While we certainly recommend not storing food in bathrooms," the authors note, "it is more important to emphasize that areas where aerosol exposures may have occurred should be thoroughly disinfected; this includes not only exposed surfaces, but also objects in the environment" that could become contaminated and spread infection. The authors point to some of the practices that can be put in place to limit outbreaks caused by such indirect contact, including disinfection of affected areas and the use of multiple bathrooms with one dedicated for use by those who are sick.
"great potential"... more fear mongering!
A couple of issues here and there does not warrant the fear mongering by the plastic interests popularising these studies.
Also, people with properly maintained healthy immune systems see very few instances of gastroenteritis.
Something to remember, anytime some study comes out to show how "dangerous" sustainable methods are, one must sniff the funding money behind it before considering it at face value.
The banning of plastic bags in more and more places is causing a shortage of income for plastic companies and they will fight tooth and nail to keep people in a state of fear about "the dangers" of not using plastic bags, when in fact plastic is a much larger killer, in the grand scheme of things, than a reusable bag!