Food shopping carts found to be germier than public toilets


Source of Article:


by William Atkins   

Thursday, 13 November 2008



University of Arizona researchers analyzed the number and kinds of germs found on grocery store shopping carts. They discovered that their handles contain more bacteria, fecal matter, and saliva than do public toilets.

In fact, they found such germs as the diarrhea-causing Campylobacter and the life-threatening bacterium Salmonella. calls the problem a "shopping cart sickness." [ "Protecting toddlers from 'shopping carta sickness'"]

The University of Arizona researchers tested sixty grocery store shopping carts for their bacterial content. They made their study in the Los Angeles, California area.

Their conclusion stated that they found more bacteria than what they measured on toilet seats, flush handles, and other toilet parts in 100 public restrooms.

The bacteria found by the researchers on the handles of shopping carts came from chicken drippings and other meat drippings, while saliva, mucus, urine, and fecal matter was found to come primarily from children sitting in the cart seats.

The ABC News article Shopping-Cart Wash Fends Off Germs states that U.S. environmental microbiologist. Charles "Chuck" P, Gerba (University of Arizona) commented on this hygiene problem.

He stated, "They [children] don't necessarily have the best sanitary habits. And you're putting your broccoli right where the kid's butt was."


According to the ABC News article, twenty supermarkets around the United States have taken a new and innovative way to counter these germs.

They have installed sanitizing devices for shopping carts. The machines look like mini car washes for carts and spray a misty peroxide solution over the entire cart after every use that is guaranteed to kill 99 percent of germs, including E. coli and salmonella.

Check out a picture of one of these shopping cart purification devices, called the Pure Cart System.

Its website states that one million germs are on the handle of food shopping carts.

The Pure Cart System disinfects carts by spraying them with a fine mist of a peroxide solution.

Further information on these dirty grocery carts appears in The Wall Street Journal article Taking the Gross Out of the Grocery Cart.


Some reports conducted by television stations include:

KOCO-TV: (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma): "Millions Of Bacteria Found On Metro Shopping Carts"

KRON-TV (San Francisco, California): "Shopping Cart Shocker"


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