How Dirty Are Grocery Store Shopping Carts?
I fell down an internet rabbit hole that may have just ruined every grocery shopping experience I will ever have. Just think about it. Everyone and everything touches the shopping cart. Sick people, healthy people that haven't recently washed their hands, sticky small children, leaking packages of raw meat.
According to a study of random shopping carts done by Dr. Charles P. Gerba, 50% of the carts carried E. Coli, and 72% contained coliform bacteria. Coliform bacteria is mainly found in the intestinal tract of humans and other animals. I will let your imagination figure out how it got on the shopping cart.
Every surface contains "germs" and some are actually good for us and help us live healthy lives. Not on that list, Salmonella, Shigella, Listeria, and others that cause food borne illnesses. All of these were found on the carts in the study, and since we put our food in said carts, it is frightening to say the least.
So how do we avoid getting sick from shopping? One way is to use the cleansing wipes provided at most major retailers to wipe down the cart when we take it from the rack. Most of the time the wipes provided don't have the cleaning power necessary to totally disinfect the cart, but it is something. Another option is to grab a basket instead of a cart. Less surface area = less bacteria, especially if you wipe it down. Unfortunately baskets only work for smaller shopping trips. You best option though is to wash your hands when you get home and make sure you clean off all produce.
Also, just try not to think too much about it. We will all be just fine!