Supermarkets are set to introduce a bag-for-life which slows bacteria growth. This may result in the prevention of food poisoning.
The introduction of a 5p charge for supermarket bags raised concerns after studies revealed that reusable bags harbour harmful bacteria, such as listeria, salmonella and e-coli. Researchers based at Glasgow Caledonian University used a small number of reusable during tests and found that nearly 50% were contaminated with bacteria. The reason for this could be that shoppers use the same bags for vegetables, fruit and other products, as they do for raw meat.
A Stafford-based company, Addmaster, has developed an antibacterial bag called Biomaster, which prevents bugs from replicating. The managing director of the company, Paul Morris, said he is aware of the concerns of experts, but this particular bag offers a solution to the problem.
The company is currently in talks with all the major supermarkets and their bags could be on shelves within months. However, many supermarkets have not confirmed that they are in talks with the company.
Emeritus Professor of Bacteriology at Aberdeen University, Professor Hugh Pennington, has aired his doubts about an antibacterial shopping bag coating which would reduce the risks of contamination that causes food poisoning. He added that although it may make a small difference, he still advises that raw meat should not be packed with other foodstuffs. This does not include meat which has been packed into sealed packets.
He has been contacted by several companies about the production of antibacterial bags, however, has not heard about the Addmaster product.
Professor Pennington added that the effectiveness of the bag will be dependent upon its design and how it is used. He stated that as long as the antibacterial substance has undergone tests and is not harmful to humans, there may be benefit to its use. He further stated that all raw meat should be wrapped in one-use bags, and the antibacterial properties of the bag will make it useful for placing other foodstuffs into the bag.
Image Credit: Michael