Amidst the bustling grocery store environment where shoppers navigate narrow aisles, concerns about germ transmission are prevalent. Surprisingly, items commonly assumed to be the dirtiest might not harbor as many germs as believed, according to a study conducted by CBC’s Marketplace. Swabbing 137 items across 24 grocery stores revealed unexpected findings, highlighting five unsuspected items that rank among the germiest in supermarkets.
- Produce: While checking for ripeness, squeezing fruits and vegetables has potential downsides, as multiple hands likely handle them before they land in shopping carts. A study by Reuse This Bag discovered that grocery store produce contained three times more bacteria than the average toothbrush holder, emphasizing the importance of thorough washing before consumption.
- Freezer doors: Contrary to expectations, freezer doors proved to be highly contaminated with bacteria and viruses in the Marketplace study. RTB’s investigation unveiled freezer door handles to contain 1,235 times more bacteria compared to an average cell phone surface.
- Grocery cart baby seats: Although grocery cart handles are more regularly sanitized post-COVID, the study showed cart baby seats, often utilized for storing small food items, consistently carried fecal bacteria, possibly from children with soiled diapers.
- Basket handles: Ranked as the second most contaminated surface, basket handles emerged as germ hotspots due to their frequent handling and swift turnover rate. Keeping these baskets away from personal items or clothing becomes challenging, contributing to their contamination.
- Checkout PIN pads: Securing the top spot for germiness, checkout PIN pads and self-checkout screens exhibited the highest contamination levels. Infrequent sanitization, attributed to the necessity of powering down these devices for safe cleaning between customers, makes them potential hubs for germ transmission.
Given these findings, maintaining personal hygiene by sanitizing hands before and after entering the grocery store, particularly after checkout, becomes pivotal. While stores might teem with germs beyond control, taking individual measures to sanitize can aid in preventing the spread of illnesses and safeguarding oneself and others.