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Reusable totes can carry health risks


STILLWATER – While many people use cloth or mesh tote bags at the grocery store in an effort to be more environmentally friendly, they may not realize they could be putting their family at risk for foodborne illnesses.

There are several steps consumers can take to help ensure proper food safety, said Barbara Brown, Oklahoma State University Extension food specialist. The simplest is to compartmentalize.

“While grocery shopping, place meat, poultry and fish into separate plastic bags to keep any juices from dripping onto and contaminating other foods in your cart,” Brown said. “Most grocery stores offer these bags in the meat department, just as they do in the produce section.”

Stick with that perspective when checking out at the register. Consumers also should use other totes specifically for non-food items such as household cleaners, dishwasher detergent, laundry soap and other like products.

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