Research – E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter: How Important is Sanitizing Your Shopping Cart?

Food Poisoning News

During the height of the pandemic, grocery stores began routinely sanitizing shopping carts and baskets after each use to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Now that the rate of COVID infections is far less, this practice of cleaning carts is becoming a thing of the past. However, sanitizing shopping carts is extremely beneficial to minimize the spread of foodborne pathogens and grocery stores should not overlook its importance.

In a study by the University of Arizona, their results found that the number of bacteria on a shopping cart was higher than the amount on surfaces of a public restroom and on diaper changing stations because restrooms are frequently cleaned. Out of the 85 shopping carts tested, a remarkable 51% carried evidence of E. coli. Traces of salmonella and campylobacter were also found. These foodborne illness causing bacteria can all survive on surfaces for extended periods of time. Campylobacter can survive on a surface for up to 4 hours and Salmonella up to 32 hours. These types of bacteria can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, headache, fevers, and vomiting.

It is also very important to keep sanitation in mind when handling food in the grocery store that will not be reheated before consumption. Shoppers inevitably touch these foods immediately after manouvering the cart and risk spreading bacteria to the food they purchase.

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