NO MORE: Wave goodbye to plastic bags and learn to use reusable bags safely.
NO MORE: Wave goodbye to plastic bags and learn to use reusable bags safely.

Time for a change: How to make reusable bags safe for food

THE time has come in Victoria, Queensland and West Australia for us to transition to re-usable shopping bags from July 1.

The ACT, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania have already got their single use plastic bag ban in place.

NSW is the only state not to have a ban in place, but the Food Safety Information Council advises Coles and Woolworths have undertaken to nationally phase out in their stores single use plastic bags.
 
'This ban is great for the environment, but there can be the risk of food poisoning from reusable bags," FSIC chair Rachelle Williams said.

You can use the following FSIC tips to help ensure your reusable bags remain safe to use with food -

  1. Use separate, leak-proof, easily washable bags for meat/poultry/seafood and for fruit and vegetables - retailers can still provide small plastic bags for these higher risk products which are recyclable at major supermarkets.
  2. Regularly check your reusable bags and replace if soiled or can't be cleaned.
  3. When purchasing your reusable bags, make sure you get a cooler bag to keep your refrigerated and frozen food at a safe temperature on the way home.
  4. You may need to add ice bricks on warm days. 
  5. Choose a clean trolley or basket for your shopping.
  6. Never put fresh fruit and vegetables that won't be peeled or cooked before eating directly into the trolley; put them in a clean bag.
  7. Plan to do your food shopping last and take it straight home so perishable food doesn't warm to temperatures in the danger zone where bacteria can grow (5° to 60°C).
  8. Don't leave your shopping in a hot car.
  9. When home, pack chilled and frozen products into your refrigerator or freezer immediately.
  10. It's best not to store your reusable shopping bags in your car where they can get hot or can come into contact with pets or dirty items such as sporting equipment and shoes. If you do keep them in the car, zip them into a cooler bag to keep them clean.

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