Six tips on avoiding food poisoning from reusable bags ahead of WA’s plastic bag ban on July 1

Residents could be provided with reusable shopping bags by the City of Melville to help them transition away from single-use plastic. Picture: Stock image
Residents could be provided with reusable shopping bags by the City of Melville to help them transition away from single-use plastic. Picture: Stock image

THE Food Safety Information Council has six food safety tips for re-usable shopping bags in the lead up to the single-use plastic bag ban in WA on July 1.

Council Chair Rachelle Williams said the WA ban is great for the environment but there can be the risk of food poisoning from reusable bags.

Here are a few extra tips to follow to make sure your reusable bags remain safe:

  1. Use separate, leak-proof, easily washable bags for meat/poultry/seafood and for fruit and vegetables – retailers can still provide small plastic bags for these higher risk products which are recyclable at major supermarkets.
  2. When you are purchasing your reusable bags make sure you get a cooler bag to keep your refrigerated and frozen food at a safe temperature on the way home, you may need to add ice bricks on warm days.
  3. Choose a clean trolley or basket for your shopping. Never put fresh fruit and vegetables that won’t be peeled or cooked before eating directly into the trolley, put them in a clean bag.
  4. Plan to do your food shopping last and take it straight home so perishable food doesn’t warm to temperatures in the danger zone where bacteria can grow (5° to 60°C). Don’t leave your shopping in a hot car.
  5. When home, pack chilled and frozen products into your refrigerator or freezer immediately.
  6. It’s best not to store your reusable shopping bags in your car where they can get hot or can come into contact with pets or dirty items such as sporting equipment and shoes. If you do keep them in the car zip them into a cooler bag to keep them clean.

For more information see food safety and shopping.