GROCERY STORES AND YOUR HEALTH
By Pierre Mouchette | Bits-n-Pieces
Background - as early as the 14th century, a grocer was a dealer in edible dry goods such as spices, peppers, sugar, tea, and coffee. Because these items were often bought in bulk, they were named after the French word for wholesaler or grossier.
The first self-service grocery store, Piggly Wiggly, was opened in 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee, by Clarence Saunders, an inventor and entrepreneur. Before this, a customer would walk up to a counter or display and ask for the food items they wanted to purchase. They could also hand over a grocery list as an order that the grocer or other clerks would fill.
Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Humpty Dumpty supermarket chain in Oklahoma, invented and introduced the first shopping cart on June 4, 1937. This invention came about from the tinkering of Goldman and an employee named Fred Young. The shopping cart altered forever how consumers shopped for groceries.
Thanks to this wheeled assistant, those looking to reprovision could shop longer and for more significant quantities than when purchases were carried by hand. Although this appliance created convenience for the shopper, it also created new problems. Harmful bacteria and viruses could quickly be passed from one individual to another.
It happens because the handles of shopping carts are grasped by many people, day in and day out, and skin flora remains by usage and the nasty bugs of ‘unwashed’ hands. As for the fold-out child’s seat found in most carts, it remains the cart’s region of choice for fruits and vegetables, which are often eaten uncooked or unwashed. Bottom line…… saliva, blood, fecal matter, mucus, bacteria, and viruses such as E. coli, staphylococcus, salmonella, influenza, and more can live on grocery carts, a sorry fact most shoppers are unaware of.
In all fairness, some stores are responding by making disinfectant wipes available for customers who want them. Researchers state that sanitizing wipes provided by many grocery stores take at least 10 minutes of contact time to kill pathogens.
FYI - if your store does not offer sanitizing wipes, try regular baby wipes.
A system on the market focuses on cleaning the entire cart rather than just parts of it. PureCart is a sort of drive-through washer that sanitizes the whole contraption. It works by coating the carts with a safe mist of a peroxide-based disinfectant, the same solution used to clean dialysis machines and poultry processors. Does your store have a system?
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