Melody Teh

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Health experts warn reusable bags are breeding grounds for diseases

Health experts warn reusable bags are breeding grounds for diseases

Health experts are warning that reusable shopping bags are perfect breeding grounds for E.coli, yeast, mould and even cockroaches.

Western Sydney University school of medicine senior lecturer­ Dr Vincent Ho said there was a much greater risk of foodborne illnesses from ­reusable bags than single-use plastic bags.

“Just the presence itself of raw meats does increase the contamination risk of a lot of these foodborne illnesses like E. coli,” Dr Ho told The Daily Telegraph.

As reusable bags, especially the woven bags are more porous they can harbour bacteria.

However, Dr Ho said that washing bags “does eliminate virtually all the pathogens” but research suggests most shopper do not clean their bags.

Researchers at the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University found 97 per cent of shoppers questioned said they did not regularly wash their bags. Some never washed their bags.

Sydney Reliance Pest Management owner Tommy Docos has dealt with several cockroach infestations that started from reusable bags stashed in cupboards.

“All cockroach species like them, but the main species that I’ve seen within those bags when they’re stored in cupboards is German cockroaches which are a smaller breed,” he said.

“We’re definitely expecting more jobs. If people are going to use those bags more often they’re going to be storing them in their homes which means there’s more chance of cockroaches going to those areas.”

A NSW Food Authority spokeswoman said reusable bags “can be a source of contamination” and urged shoppers to “make sure you regularly wash them”.