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Meat-Borne Infection Risk from Shopping Carts

Exposure to meat packaging in the supermarket may lead to food poisoning in children placed in shopping carts.

April 17, 2012 |
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Supplementary Info

Sources Cited


Image thanks to carlosluis.


In terms of cross-contamination of fecal bacteria, what about just picking up of package of meat at the store? From CDC researchers published recently in the Journal of Food Protection: Riding in Shopping Carts and Exposure to Raw Meat and Poultry Products: Prevalence of, and Factors Associated with, This Risk Factor for Salmonella and Campylobacter Infection in Children Younger Than 3 Years.
Riding in a shopping cart next to raw meat or poultry is a risk factor for Salmonella and Campylobacter infections in infants. Kids riding in the basket had 18 times the odds of exposure compared to those placed backwards in the seats.
Several simple steps are likely to help reduce infants’ and children’s exposure to raw meat or poultry products in a grocery store, thereby reducing their risk of exposure to pathogens that may be present on these packages. When riding shopping carts, infants and children should be placed in the child seats rather than the baskets of the carts. An option for older children is the use of alternative shopping carts designed with stroller-like seats or miniature motor vehicles in front of the cart basket.
Placing raw meat and poultry products on the rack underneath the cart would also limit direct child–product contact.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

This is especially critical given the level of MRSA found in retail meat these days. See MRSA in U.S. Retail Meat and Toxic Megacolon Superbug. Also see yesterday’s video for cross-contamination risks once meat makes it to the kitchen, 21 videos on foodborne illness in general, and hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects. Note I also refer to this video in my blog post Poultry and Penis Cancer.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    This is especially critical given the level of MRSA found in retail meat these days. See MRSA in U.S. Retail Meat and Toxic Megacolon Superbug. Also see yesterday’s video for cross-contamination risks once meat makes it to the kitchen, 21 videos on foodborne illness in general, and hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects.

  • veggiechick

    Do those sanitizing wipes at the grocery store help kill that? I’m on a plant based diet and I’m always concerned with who had the cart before me plus I have OCD. I don’t have kids, but just taking precautions!

  • jtube

    What about the checkout counter?
    I m always afraid of getting the produce bags and other items I buy contaminated and then bringing them into my house. I prefer buying at farmers markets or a store that doesn t sell “fresh” meat.

  • vegan2u

    Boy, I guess I have to start wiping down the handlebar with those towelettes you see next to the carts. Since I regularly buy a full shopping bag of fresh greens, I take the precaution of filling a 5 gal plastic tub half way with warm water and adding a 1/2 cup of Vinegar and quickly submerge them one at a time and shake them off to remove most of the water before I put them in my refrigerator. I use Hydrogen Peroxide and dish soap to keep my counters clean (It makes the glass on the stove top really shine) Peace

  • Sharon

    I’m confused… the last comment made me think this was just an issue if you are actually buying these products and placing them in the cart with your children.  Is it still a concern if you are not?

    This is actually something I’ve really been thinking a lot about lately, I’d really like to see butcher shops separate completely from other groceries… is there anyway to start a movement to get this happening?  With the concerns over reusable bags and other cross contamination concerns such as this it only makes sense to keep all the animal products separate.  

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Also, please check out my associated blog post:!

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please also check out my associated blog post, Poultry and Penis Cancer!