Avoid Supermarket Germs: 4 Dirtiest Foods & Places in Grocery Stores

LifeHacks The List
By: Kristina Guerrero Posted: 5:12 PM, Apr 9, 2018

The bright lights of the supermarket seem to shine on every nook and cranny – but germs are masters at hiding! We spoke with food industry analyst Phil Lempert to find out the dirtiest places at the grocery store – and how you can keep germs at bay!


1. The Grocery Cart

First on our list is the shopping cart. “Many supermarkets now have those wipes when you walk in, so you can wipe down the handle of your shopping cart,” says Phil. “Keep in mind that different foods – especially meats that have juices, [like fish] – can leak out on that cart.” Yikes! So next time you spot that complimentary bottle of sanitary wipes, grab one and give that cart a scrub.


2. The Deli 

Next up, the deli counter can be a slice of germ heaven…or hell! Phil says the deli counter is of the most difficult places to keep clean, but offers pointers on what to look out for: “Are they wearing gloves, number one? Are they changing their gloves between each order? Is the slicing machine clean, or are there scraps from what was previously cut?” Phil also warns about the scale, which can be a breeding ground of cross contamination with all the various meats and cheeses. “They should have a fresh piece of wax paper on the scale before they put that product on top for it.” Moral of the story: if you don't see gloves, a clean slicer, or wax paper on the scale, make sure to ask for them!


3. The Misters

Another place where germs can multiply? The produce section! Phil explains why: “Most times [misters are] never clean, and what you find is you can really see calcium deposits or other dirt forming on that nozzle head.” But there’s a way around this! “Make sure if you're supermarket has a mister that you're digging down; that you're not getting the produce that's right on the top that's getting that cross contamination from the mister.” Duly noted!


4. Germiest Food

Now you know the dirtiest places in a grocery store – but what about the direst foods? You might be surprised to find out that bean sprouts are one of the biggest offenders. “The average produce department has over four hundred different items. Most produce comes from the ground, or obviously it's in a tree. These are environments that could be a food safety nightmare, and one of the ones that are at the top of the list are bean sprouts.” Gah! Can’t live without your sprouts? Phil offers a protip: “They are very hard to keep clean. So if you do happen to love sprouts, make sure you wash them thoroughly. That means under hot water to kill bacteria that might be on them.” Bon Appetit!


What cleaning tips can YOU share? Tell us on our Facebook page, @TheListShowTV.


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