Supermarkets are not without danger

Who expects a supermarket to be a huge source of contamination? It has become apparent that a visit to the supermarket is not without risks. Millions of people get infections every year, simply contracted in the familiar supermarket around the corner. A lot has to do with the storage and shelf life of food, but the store itself also appears to be dangerous. Who dares to pick up a cart when you know it’s teeming with germs? And is fresh really fresh? Know the sickening secrets of the supermarket!

Supermarket carts and baskets

The bacteria party starts when you pick up a cart or basket. These are many times dirtier than toilet seats and contain ten times as much bacteria as any other thing you touch in a day. The handles are a source of contamination, because various types of bacteria and viruses (E. coli, staphylococcus, salmonella and influenza) have the time of their lives here. Yes, intestinal bacteria, traces of urine, blood, mucus, saliva and germs! And they also stay alive for another three days. Beware of the store that does little or no cleaning of the carts. To be on the safe side, you can take a disinfectant wipe with you and wipe the handlebar or handle with it. Also watch out for the store’s doorknob, the cash machine and the PIN machine at the cash register. Precisely because thousands of fingers pass over it every day, the dirt is incalculable. If you shop with a toddler and put him in the cart, make sure that the hands that have touched the cart do not go to the mouth. Always wash your hands thoroughly after a visit to the supermarket, with warm water and soap for at least a few minutes.

Secret of supermarkets

Not many people think about it, but if you buy an apple for your lunch, or a tomato for your dinner, your hands are about the twentieth that touch the food. And that makes sense: fruit and vegetables are picked, sorted, loaded into a truck, unloaded, sorted again, put into boxes and crates and unloaded again… all before they finally reach the store. Once on the supermarket shelves, the touching party continues once again. The food is grabbed by other customers, touched, sniffed, pinched and put back by many customers before you decide to buy the product. Wash fruits and vegetables very thoroughly before preparing them, even if you don’t want to eat the peel. Because if you peel or peel, bacilli still end up on the edible part. If you have pre-cut something, do not leave it on the counter but put it in the refrigerator until you eat it. If you bought pre-cut vegetables and they have already been washed, wash them again yourself.

Ready-made and ‘fresh’

Unbelievable but true: the useful foods such as ready-made fruit salads, pasta salads, single meals, pre-roasted meat and the like are sometimes made from products that have expired or are approaching their expiration date. This means that they must be eaten immediately or sometimes even thrown away. Hot food in the supermarket should be stored at a minimum of 57 degrees C, cold food at a maximum of 5 degrees C. To prevent dehydration, hot prepared food is often stored at too low a temperature, which encourages bacterial growth. If you want to buy ready-made food, make sure that it has been prepared a maximum of four hours in advance. As more hours pass, the risk of contamination with bacteria increases. And eat it right away!

Sandwiches…a big danger?

Everyone knows them, the shelving units where freshly baked rolls are stored. There are tongs included so you don’t have to dig through the stack of sandwiches with your bare hands. But many people skip the pliers and grab – with or without the sleeves of their jacket – until they get hold of the back (largest?) ball. In this way they transfer their germs and viruses to the other sandwiches. But besides that, something much more disgusting has been spotted, because the strangest things are found at the bottom of the open bread bins. How about hair and fake fingernails? The same problem also applies to creating candy yourself. Those who are sensible will skip this method of selecting food for good and opt for pre-packaged goods.

Is fresh really that fresh?

The large displays are the least risky. The displays are so large because a lot is sold in a short time. This means that the supply is also large and that it has been less time since the products entered the store. If you see smaller displays, the supermarket is probably not going through the goods as quickly. The products are therefore older. This is especially the case with foods that are less popular, such as exotic fruits. So think: Bananas and oranges will leave the store faster than passion fruit or mangoes. And they are also replenished more quickly. Freshness therefore depends on popularity. If you want to work as safely as possible, you should stick to the products that are often supplied. Sometimes these are also advertised and are therefore purchased in large quantities. Once at the checkout, do not place fruit and vegetables loose on the conveyor belt, but always wrap them in plastic. Because it has been shown that organisms that are typically associated with open wounds, and can therefore themselves cause infections, are located in large numbers on this band!

Be careful with previews in supermarkets

Sometimes you can take a taste: Cheese, sausage, or toast with salad. Be very vigilant here. Please note that it always concerns individual portions, that there are spoons, forks or plates. And that there are staff there. If you don’t see anyone, the food may have been presented a long time ago. Never take anything from a bowl that people can grab with their bare hands, as these are real sources of bacteria. If someone is preparing food that you can taste on the spot, pay attention to how that is done. Are prepared foods kept separate from raw foods (cutting boards, knives, etc.)? Do you serve food that is supposed to be hot, or does it sit around for a while? And so on.

The meat department

Real butchers specialize in the storage and shelf life of meat, but in supermarkets this is not always the case. Meat and chicken products must be tightly packed, isolated from cross-contamination and stored at the correct temperature. Everyone knows the red meat that on closer inspection turns out to have a brownish inside. How come? The outside is kept red by adding certain salts or packaging the meat under a ‘protective atmosphere’, an airtight packaging with the addition of nitrogen. The supermarket also uses special lights that make the meat appear redder than it is, regardless of how long it has been on the shelves. Sometimes the red color is accentuated by adding a dash of green herbs such as parsley. Buy meat at the very last moment on your way through the supermarket, so that it stays cold longer. Before you put it in your bag, double wrap the meat (with extra plastic around it), so that no meat juices can escape and end up on the other groceries. Eat meat within two days of purchase, or freeze it immediately.
“Six hundred shopping carts in the grocery store and I keep picking the one with the front wheel that likes to pirouette like a ballerina on speed.”

Scroll to Top