Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Health

To Fight Filthy Produce, Use a Shopping Cart "Misting Machine"

DiscoblogBy Nina BaiNovember 14, 2008 12:20 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

shopping-cart.jpg

What’s more germy than a public toilet?It’s not a subway car handrail. It’s the shopping carts in grocery stores, according to a study last year that measured saliva, bacteria, and fecal matter on shopping cart handles.Both store owners and customers have sought ways to combat the filthy carts, from disinfectant wipes to cart liners to snap-on handles, with limited success.The latest clean-cart idea looks like a mini-car wash and sprays the entire cart with a mist of peroxide solution.PureCart Systems says their machines kill 99 percent of germs on carts.

More than 20 supermarkets across the country have installed PureCart machines, which cost about $8,000 a year.The machines appear to be popular with shoppers, especially those with young children. And with good reason: Among babies, contact with raw meat packaging is the second leading cause of Salmonella infection. Only reptile exposure is more dangerous.“[Kids] don’t necessarily have the best sanitary habits,” microbiologist Chuck Gerba said.“And you’re putting your broccoli right where the kid’s butt was.”

For more mature shoppers, experts say the best bet is still handwashing, though recent studies indicate your fellow shoppers probably aren’t taking that advice.So if your local supermarket doesn’t have a PureCart machine yet, check Google Flu Trends before heading out the door.

Related Content: DISCOVER: What Invisible Things Are in the Surfaces You Touch and Air You Breathe? DISCOVER: The Biology of...Hand-Washing Discoblog: Since Sick People Surf the Web, Google Now Tracking Flu Trends

Image: flickr / JaeYong, BAE

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In