Be careful with shopping carts

March 25, 2020
Shopping cart

PARENTS were always been reminded to avoid putting their child in a cart or leave the child unattended.

Now with the coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading fast, you have to take precautions when you go shopping (and panic buying).

At the grocery store, the first thing you touch is obviously the shopping cart (may be the most perilous when it comes to picking up pathogens).

A study conducted in Spain found that 41 percent of shopping cart handles and 50 percent of cart baskets (where children usually sit) were contaminated by enterobacteria (which are associated with intestinal diseases) while coliforms (which often originate from feces) were lurking on almost 26 percent of handles and 46 percent of baskets, per December 2018 research published in the Journal of Applied Animal Research.

Similar results were found in a study made by Food Protection Trends in American grocery stores. They detected coliforms — including E. coli — on 72 percent of shopping carts. Researchers noted that this finding indicated far greater bacterial levels than those discovered in public restrooms.

According to the authors' hypothesis, these bacteria may have stemmed from contact with raw foods like meat and fish, and saliva on some people who cough and sneeze on their hands, consumers' dirty hands and leaky diapers.

Exposure to these bacteria can cause infections.

Don’t forget, at the end of your shopping trip, wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds or clean them with a good alcohol-based sanitiser.