Back in May, NPR ran a story about food safety and the use of the re-usable grocery bags.
That scenario reminds me of the phrase, "No good deed goes unpunished." Sometimes life seems to go that way, but I still like to error on the side of optimism. So, with that in mind, I will take the cart by the handle (this is similar to taking the bull by the horns, but significantly safer) and shed some light on grocery store food safety from entry to exit.
Wipe your cart: Studies have shown that grocery cart handles have the most bacteria of any surface in the grocery store. That is enough to make you get two wipes; I now wipe the handle and the seating area as well.
Do a random temperature check: Stores have thermometers in the meat and cold cases. Cold foods should be stored at less than 40 degrees. I did a random check while researching this segment and was very pleased to find all thermometers at the proper temperature in our National Hills Kroger store.
Check out the health inspector rating certificate: This should be posted at the deli and or areas where food is prepared.
Inspect packaging: This seems intuitive, but I have gotten home to find my bread package half open with dry bread all knotted up in the twist tie and a yogurt foil open with questionable yogurt that I had to toss out ... no fun at all, so inspect packaging while you are at the store.
Avoid cross contamination: This is a big one. Cross contamination can occur at so many points along the way.
Here are some of the many ways to avoid cross contamination among food:
As always: Shop well and eat well!