If you are like most people, you want to just get in and out of the grocery store as fast as possible. In the haste to speed through the checkout line and get on with your healthy diet plan, it is easy to overlook some common food safety basics that can inadvertently bring back some gross germs and illness to your house. Here are some tips that will keep you (and your food) be as germ-free as possible in the supermarket.
Wipe Your Shopping Cart Down: Taking the 30 seconds that it takes to wipe down your shopping cart is key. Most stores provide disinfecting wipes at the front of the store that makes cleaning your cart handle, child seat, or handbasket a cinch. In case your store does not provide wipes, have your own personal hand sanitizer handy. Gross fact: A study found that 50 percent of grocery cart handles contain E. coli, a bacteria that can cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal discomfort.
Perishable Time Limit: Perishable items need to be frozen or refrigerated within two hours of leaving the store. Bump that to one hour if the weather is warm outside, since your car gets hot. Plan ahead and schedule your grocery store errands for your last task before going home.
Separate Your Food: Keep foods that are prone to cross contamination separate in your cart. Things like poultry and meat can spill on other foods and cause bacteria to spread. It is best to use a plastic bag for meat products. Even though you will wash your vegetables before use, it is still advisable to keep them separated in produce bags, too.
Check Your Reusable Bags: Be careful that when you are using reusable shopping bags that are good for the environment that you are making sure that they stay clean. Think about where your bags have been and are going. As in, your reusable bag may have been on the ground, in a dirty shopping cart, carrying leaked foods, and are now sitting on your kitchen counter. Reusable bags do not last forever. Take care to keep them germ free and discard those that are no longer in good shape.
Avoiding the Grocery Store Altogether: For those who use food delivery services to make shopping for a healthy diet plan easier, take care with the bags and packaging that the food arrive in.