More and more shoppers are turning to reusable grocery bags, with some states even choosing to ban plastic bags all together.
However, many are asking if those bags could be a breeding ground for bacteria.
Reusable bags seem to come from everywhere, handed out for free at information fairs, sold at grocery stores for less than $1, and there are even the kinds that fold up into a purse so it is always on hand.
Eyewitness News decided to see just how clean those reusable bags are, especially if they are frequently used.
With the help of Northeast Laboratories in Berlin, Eyewitness News learned how to correctly collect a sample in a sanitary solution and store it for testing.
While the bags are used frequently, not many people wash theirs.
Eyewitness News took samples from four different bags and took them back to the lab.
Turns out, those samples weren’t as dirty as Northeast Laboratories Director Alan Johnson said he’s seen, who said the bags could be associated with some outbreaks of food poisoning.
"They will absorb things, cloth will. If you have say a package of meat, that is leaking - that will be absorbed into the cloth. If you don't wash that it can be carried through,” Johnson said.
He said the easy solution is to wash the reusable bags every week once you’re done shopping.
If not, at least try to remember which bags are used for meat and keep them separate from fruits and vegetables.
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