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Bacterial Contamination of Shopping Carts and Approaches to Control

Placing children in grocery shopping carts has been implicated recently as a source of infection with Salmonella and Campylobacter in young children. This study was conducted to assess the occurrence total bacteria, coliform bacteria and Escherichia coli on grocery shopping cart handles and seats.

A total of 85 shopping carts in parking lots of grocery stores were tested in five major metropolitan areas across the United States. The total numbers of heterotrophic bacteria were as great as 1.1 × 107 on the handle and seat. Coliforms were detected on 72% (62) of the carts. E. coli was identified on 18 of 35 carts (51%) on which coliform identification was conducted.

The results of this study suggest the need for improved sanitation of shopping cards/baskets to reduce exposure to pathogens and potential transmission of microbial infections among shoppers.

Author: Gerba CP, Maxwell S

Citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 32, no. 12, pp. 747-749, December 2012 Volume 32, Issue 12

Published: 01/12/2012

Publication Type: Journal article