E. Coli Grocery Carts

By: Michael Stevens - Staff Writer
Published: Mar 4, 2021

E. Coli Grocery Carts. Recent research has shown that 50 percent of grocery carts contain bacteria that carry disease. Shopping can actually be hazardous to your health, according to study experts from the University of Arizona.

After examining 85 random shopping carts in four states, preliminary research has concluded that 72 percent of these carts contained a marker for fecal bacteria. Then, researchers thoroughly studied samples from 36 of those carts and discovered that 50 percent of them were infected with E.coli, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “a large and diverse group of bacteria. Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick. Some kinds of E. coli can cause diarrhea, while others cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia and other illnesses.”

“That’s more [bacteria] than you find in a supermarket’s restroom,” Charles Gerba, University of Arizona Professor of Soil, Water and Environment and lead researcher, told MSNBC.com. “That’s because they use disinfecting cleaners in the restrooms. Nobody routinely cleans and disinfects shopping carts.”

This is not the first time Gerba has found health trouble lurking around the market. This study coincides with previous research he discovered in 2008 stating that children who rode in shopping carts were more likely than others to develop infections caused by two other types of bacteria, salmonella and campylobacter. In June of 2010, he co-authored another report with Lorna Linda University that found that reusable grocery bags could be a threat, since there were detected to contain bacteria, including E.coli.  “With this knowledge, people will be in a better position to protect their health and that of their children,” Gerba stated.


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