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E-coli found in half of grocery shopping carts


Grocery shopping carts have more bacteria on them than is found in a supermarket’s washrooms, says a new study from the University of Arizona.

Researchers at the university examined carts in various American states and found that of the 85 they looked at, 72% contained fecal bacteria markers.

They did a closer examination of 36 of the carts and found that half had E-coli, as well as other bacteria.

“That’s more than you find in a supermarket restroom,” Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology and lead research on the study, said in an article posted on

Shopping carts aren’t cleaned and disinfected as often as the washrooms in most stores, he noted.

A prior study found that kids who ride in shopping carts have a greater chance of getting infections caused by bacteria.

Gerba, by the way, is no stranger to the study of bacteria and grocery stores. Last year he and other researchers found that reusable grocery bags are breeding grounds for food-borne bacteria.

"Our findings suggest a serious threat to public health, especially from coliform bacteria including E-coli, which were detected in half of the bags sampled,” he said at the time. “Consumers are alarmingly unaware of these risks and the critical need to sanitize their bags on a weekly basis."

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