The 5p bag tax, was introduced two years ago this week as a measure to lessen the impact of supermarket plastic bags on the environment, reducing the amount of litter and pollution by encouraging shoppers to bring their own bags to carry their shopping home.
‘Bags for life’ became a popular replacement however this may have resulted in a threat to consumer health.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has warned that ‘bags for life’ pose a food poisoning risk if they are used to carry raw foods such as meat and fish.
When the same bags are then used to carry other foods such as fruit and vegetables, potentially harmful bacteria are spread.
Recent video footage has revealed some shocking unhygienic practices within a raw chicken factory which could lead to an increased number of bacteria being present.
An example bacterium which was found on the outer packaging of fresh poultry is Campylobacter, which commonly causes severe food poisoning.
Nearly three quarters (73%) of people do not clean their reusable shopping bag after using it to carry food according to a survey undertaken in 2016 by Addmaster, founder of anti-microbial technology, Biomaster.
Addmaster may have found a solution. A bag for life is now available which incorporates Biomaster technology, resulting in an anti-microbial inner-lining of the bag.
Paul Morris, CEO of Addmaster, said:” The advice released by the FSA on bags for life doesn’t go far enough. Washing a bag at 30 or 40 degrees will merely spread bacteria.
“To be safe, the bag must be washed at over 72 degrees to kill bacteria or must be disinfected.
“If the bag is not disinfected effectively, bacteria like Campylobacter will spread and can make you very ill.
“This is a very real problem and can be avoided by using a Biomaster bag for life which are stocked in some supermarkets including Marks and Spencer, and now Morrisons.
“Biomaster technology was originally developed for the NHS to tackle the spread of MRSA in hospitals. We have now safely incorporated this into bags for life and the bag will remain anti-microbial for its effective life time.
“Biomaster technology can also be incorporated into the outer packaging of raw meat products for as little as 1p but many suppliers have deemed this too expensive”.