Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 1:20 EDT

Using Reusable Grocery Bags and Bins

June 12, 2012

OTTAWA, June 12, 2012 /CNW/ – Health Canada is reminding Canadians to
take steps to prevent cross-contamination of foods when shopping with
reusable grocery bags and bins.

As an environmental choice, many Canadians are now shopping with
reusable bins, plastic bags and cloth bags to reduce the amount of
plastic they are using. Health Canada supports the proper use of these
products, but it is important to use them safely to prevent
cross-contamination of food with bacteria that can cause foodborne

Because these bags and bins are reused frequently, they can pick up
bacteria from the foods they carry, or from their environment (the
ground, the back of your car or the items stored in them between
grocery trips).

The following steps can help to prevent cross-contamination:

        --  Wash cloth bags frequently, especially after carrying fresh
            produce, meat, poultry or fish. Reusable grocery bags may not
            all be machine washable. If yours are not, you should wash them
            by hand frequently with hot soapy water. Plastic bins should be
            washed using hot soapy water on a regular basis as well. It is
            also important to dry grocery bags and bins after washing.
        --  Put fresh or frozen raw meat, poultry and fish in separate bins
            or bags from fresh produce and other ready-to-eat foods.
        --  Putting your fresh or frozen raw meat, poultry or fish in
            plastic bags (the clear bags found in the produce and some meat
            sections work well) will help to prevent the juices from
            leaking and contaminating your reusable containers and other
            foods. Fresh produce should also be put in plastic bags to help
            protect it from contamination.
        --  If you are using your grocery bags or bins to store or
            transport non-food items, they should be washed thoroughly
            before using them for groceries.

It is estimated that there are approximately 11 million cases of
food-related illness in Canada every year. Many of these cases could be
prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.

For more information on reusable grocery bags and bins and other food
safety tips, please visit:

Government of Canada’s Reusable Grocery Bags and Bins Tips

Video: Reusable Grocery Bags and Bins

Government of Canada’s Food Safety Portal

Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education’s Be Food Safe Canada

SOURCE Health Canada

Source: PR Newswire