Supermarket trolley truths

2016-10-13 06:00

“DON’T touch that, you don’t know where it has been.” This is what we usually hear a mother say to her child, but as adults, who shop daily, we should probably tell ourselves the same thing.

A local woman told the Fever she recently had to go through several shopping baskets until she found one that was “suitable” to use because they were all very dirty.

“I was disgusted because the basket had a piece of rotten lettuce stuck to it and had sludge stuck in the corners. I shop almost daily and notice this is a regular occurrence in most stores,” she said.

The woman brought this to the attention of the store managers, except the one that had the decaying piece of lettuce stuck to it.

“By then, I was fed up and didn’t even bother to complain. I just carried on going through baskets until I found a clean one,” she said.

“My question is, if that’s what’s in these baskets, what are on the handles?”

Bidvest Steiner has the answer to that. A study conducted in 2011 in the United States, revealed that bacteria found on shopping trolleys match what is found in public toilets.

Out of 85 trolleys examined it was found that 72% of them tested positive for faecal bacteria and half carried traces of E. coli, the source of the most severe “food poisoning”, which can be fatal in some cases.

A Dettol Habit (Hygiene: Attitudes, Behaviour, Insight and Traits) Study showed that 46% of the world did not follow good personal hygiene habits and do not wash their hands more than five or more times a day with soap.

South Africans showed a lower tendency to use anti-bacterial soap than the global average. However, shoppers can rest assured that strict routines are in place at most outlets to keep trolleys and baskets hygienic.

Adam Baker of Pick n Pay Oribi Plaza said trolleys and baskets are washed two to three times a week with a high pressure hose. Baskets are washed every second day.

Harbourview Spar manager, Warren Majoor, said baskets and trolleys are washed twice a week.

“If we find that trolleys and baskets become dirty in-between washes, we attend to it straight away,” he said.

Shoprite Group’s Sarita van Wyk said the company employed a contractor specifically for trolley and basket sanitising. She was speaking on behalf of Checkers Southcoast Mall and Shoprite Port Shepstone.

“Sanitising materials are also available at till points for cleaning till surfaces and spillages that may have occurred in trolleys and baskets,” said Van Wyk.

All stores interviewed reported that wet wipes are available to customers to sanitise trolleys and baskets, normally at the entrance.

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