Becoming a Germophobe in the Supermarket
By now you have probably seen the shopping cart wipe stand
at the front of just about every grocery store you walk into. Sometimes you
will see a wipe dispenser hanging from a fixture by the cart corral. Other times
you will encounter an entire cart wipe station, complete with a convenient
trash can to discard used wipes.
There is a reason cart wipes are becoming a national trend.
Several studies have surfaced that reveal what really resides on our shopping cart
handles and baby seats. Think about it. Most carts are used by at least a
hundred people each week. This includes people who may be carrying the flu or
cold virus. That baby seat may look like a perfect spot for your fresh
produce, but it can harbor germs left by an infant armed with the loaded
diaper. Leaking bags of
seafood or raw chicken can leave traces of salmonella and other harmful
contaminants all over cart components.
A recent study at the University of Arizona reveals just how
filthy and germ-laden shopping carts can be. Researchers swabbed 85 carts from
four different states. Over 72 percent of the carts tested positive for fecal
bacteria. When they examined some of the samples, they discovered Escherichia
coli, also known as E. coli, on over half of them. Those conducting the study actually found more fecal bacteria on grocery cart handles
than you would typically find in a bathroom. The main reason for this is simply
that bathrooms are usually cleaned more often than shopping carts.
The reality behind this hidden nastiness is that it can make
your very sick. Every time you touch a tainted cart handle you pick up
thousands of germs. If you immediately rub your eyes or touch your mouth, you
are giving these microbes an open door invitation to your immune system.
Teething babies can become ill after putting their mouths on dirty cart components.
Washing your hands after using a shopping cart is a good idea, but by that time
it is usually too late. The best solution is to treat cart components prior
to using them.
Since most stores
rarely clean their shopping carts, it’s up to the shopper.
High quality cart wipes contain a non-alcohol
sanitizing solution. This is good because alcohol can dry out your skin.
Benzalkonium Chloride is the most common chemical found in the best wipes on the
market. Wiping down the most common areas such as the seat and handle will kill
millions of germs you would otherwise come in contact with. Many shoppers
forget to wipe the areas they place their produce and fresh fruit. This is
extremely important considering fresh fruit and produce are the most likely
items in your basket to become contaminated.
So, next time you are at the supermarket or your favorite
grocery store, make sure to wipe down your cart before you make the trip down the aisles.
It’s just the healthy thing to do. If your favorite store doesn’t have a
cartwipe stand near the entrance, talk to the manager about getting one.