Reusable grocery bags and bins can collect harmful bacteria from foods. These bacteria can also contaminate other foods or items in the bags/bins and put you at risk of food poisoning.
Lower the risk of cross-contamination and food poisoning by following these food safety tips.
At the store
- Wrap your raw meat, poultry, and seafood in individual plastic bags (found in most produce and meat sections). This will help prevent juices from leaking out and contaminating your reusable bags/bins and other foods.
- Wrap fresh produce in plastic bags to help protect them from contamination. It’s particularly important to avoid contaminating fresh foods that will not be cooked before eating.
- Use separate bags/bins for produce and raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Clean and/or sanitize any areas–such as counters and tables–where you placed your bags/bins.
Cleaning reusable bags
- Machine-wash your cloth bags frequently, especially after using them to carry fresh produce, meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Hand-wash reusable grocery bags inside out with hot soapy water if they aren’t machine-washable.
- Dry your grocery bags after washing.
- If juices from food have leaked into the bag, make sure to wash it thoroughly before using again.
- Thoroughly wash your bags before using them for groceries if they’ve been used to carry non-food items.
Cleaning reusable bins
- Plastic bins should be washed using hot soapy water and/or sanitized with a mild bleach solution on a regular basis.
- Dry your grocery bins after washing.
- If juices from food have leaked into the bin, make sure to wash it thoroughly before using again.
- Thoroughly wash your bins before using them for groceries if they’ve been used to carry non-food items.
What the Government of Canada does to protect you
The Government of Canada is committed to food safety.
Health Canada establishes regulations and standards relating to the safety and nutritional quality of foods sold in Canada. Through inspection and enforcement activities, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency verifies that food sold in Canada meets Health Canada’s requirements.