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How do I avoid food-borne illness when grocery shopping?

To avoid food-borne illness while grocery shopping, make sure to put foods into separate bags while shopping. By separating foods such as raw meats, fish and produce you are taking an important step to prevent possible cross-contamination which could lead to foodborne illness.

Reusable tote bags should also be washed after each use to prevent the potential of infecting the bag for future outings. 

Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing

There are several tips that may help you prevent food borne illness when grocery shopping:

  • Carry a hand sanitizer and don’t forget to use it when touching carts, doors, packages of meat etc.
  • Carry a cooler in the car during times when the temp is out to help keep foods refrigerated.
  • Purchase your foods that won’t perish first and leave frozen foods and meats until last and make sure they are packed separately.
  • Wash produce when you get home and store meats immediately. If rewrapping meats be sure to use a different cutting board then the one you use for vegetables and fruits. When handling different foods clean your hands in between and make sure your counters are clean as well.
  • Beware of refreezing foods that have thawed out.
  • If a food looks questionable don’t buy it. Ask how fresh the meat and fish are and look for dates on the packaging.
Whether shopping at a farmer's market, a grocery store or a club warehouse store, there are a few simple precautions that you can take to prevent foodborne illness in your home.
  • Shop for non-perishable items first and leave refrigerated and frozen items for the end of your shopping trip.
  • Have meats, poultry and seafood bagged separately from other foods.
  • In summer, transport foods in the back seat rather than a hot trunk.
  • When home, unload your groceries right away.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.