Reusable bags can kill

Stuff  reports: quote.

New Zealanders are embracing the reusable bag ahead of a plastic bag ban, but they could be carrying something else around – bacteria.

ACT leader David Seymour says 20 people could die each year using reusable bags.

“It’s coming up to summer and people will be in a hot car with their chicken in a canvas bag … and suddenly, you’ve got a real serious case for poor food hygiene.”

Food safety expert Steve Flint said it was a valid concern. end quote.

Of course, it is. Imagine a bit of liquid leaking out of the chicken meat, staying at the bottom of the reusable bag for a few days and then a piece of fruit at the bottom of the bag is contaminated. It will happen. quote.

Packaging for meat was not always sealed properly and the juices could leak in to bags, Flint said.

“There’s a clear passage of food-based pathogens to use the bag as a vehicle … it’s different to the plastic bags which can just be thrown away.”

Flint said his colleagues had raised concerns with him about the bags, and his father who was a Government health inspector had also raised concerns about them years prior, he said.

“But the general public wouldn’t know.”

New Zealand has one of the world’s highest rates of campylobacteriosis, and almost all fresh chicken sold is contaminated with campylobacterend quote.

More people are going to get sick with food poisoning, and it is awful. Plastic bags have been a reason why the incidents of such illnesses have been kept reasonably low. We are definitely going backwards here, and all for the sake of a bit of virtue signalling. quote.

Caring for reusable bags was just another precaution that consumers would need to take until contamination in the chicken products was reduced, Baker said.

Buying frozen or pre-cooked chicken was an easy solution. “The consumers should be switching to better alternatives.” end quote.

Why should we have to buy frozen stuff? Sometimes that is not convenient. Ever bought a cooked chicken from the supermarket?  Usually, that is for immediate consumption. It is always possible for some of the juices to leak out of the bag. Are we not allowed to buy cooked chickens now? quote.

In August, when the ban was announced, Kiwi Plastics owner Angelus Tay warned the alternatives were not hygienic.

People combining meat with other products in the same reusable bag were risking contamination, Tay said.

Seymour was “completely opposed” to the plastic bag ban, citing  a US research paper from 2012 which showed a switch to reusable bags killed around five people a year in San Francisco.

San Francisco County was the first major US jurisdiction to restrict plastic bag use, and brought in a ban in 2007.

The research found relative to other counties, their ER admissions increased by at least one fourth. end quote.

This is a serious health hazard and busy people will not take the extra precautions necessary. Why would they when they have not had to up until now. quote.

A Countdown spokeswoman said customers should take care of their reusable shopping bags and make sure they’re clean.

Chiller bags were best for meat and chilled food, and could also be easily wiped clean, she said. end quote.

They can be wiped clean because they are plastic…

I know I will not regularly wash reusable bags – I just won’t. I pretty much guarantee most people won’t either. I will forget. Constantly. Simple as that.

Plus I’m not letting the virtue signallers at Countdown tell me what to do. quote.

The store’s standard reusable bags were tested to survive 150 uses, she said.  “We don’t test bags for how often they can be washed;  personally I wash mine a couple of times a year.” end quote.

I’m pretty sure that will not be often enough to avoid contamination. I would have thought once a week would be more appropriate and therein lies the problem. There will be consequences over this, and for some people, the health risks will be serious but what does all that matter when we can all do some serious virtue signalling, eh?


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Accountant. Boring. Loves tax. Needs to get out more. Loves the environment, but hates the Greens. Has been called a dinosaur. Wears it with pride.

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