Mary, suppressing instant laughter, almost did a spit-take with her coffee this morning. But after a while, the reason for that spit-take made more sense.
The reason for the almost-spit-take was an image of a miniature car wash style system, in a grocery store, with someone pushing a shopping cart through it.
At first glance the PureCart system looks downright hokey, especially during the teaser for the current story on ABC News. It almost looks as though the thing was built for a sequence on Candid Camera. But there’s one section in the ABC News story that made me stop and think:
University of Arizona researchers tested shopping carts and found that their handles have more saliva, bacteria and fecal matter than public toilets. Kids are sometimes the culprits … “They don’t necessarily have the best sanitary habits,” said Dr. Chuck Gerba, an environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona. “And you’re putting your broccoli right where the kid’s butt was.”
That’s right. He says “butt” on national television, and gets away with it.
However, the ABC News story doesn’t quite tell the whole story. Currently there are 11 comments on the web site’s version of the story, with the writers of those comments talking about germ-a-phobes, and people needing to keep their kids in-line and not infect the carts. But I’ll tell you what, there’s plenty more to this outside those little ones.
Put some thought into this for a minute. Not everyone uses the available plastic bags in the store for fruit, produce, poultry, fish, meat, etc. The fruit and produce then come into contact with whatever was in the cart last, which could have been a leaky package or two of proteins. The shelves in the milk case at these stores are constantly covered with a thin film of milk. This ends up on the bottom of the cart, right where those proteins probably leaked as well. And that’s what’s in your fridge under those same cartons of milk you brought home. There is all kinds of crap on those carts from all over the store and from the users as well … including people who drop their kids into the larger part of the cart without considering what might be on their shoes.
I could go on, but you’re probably nauseated enough.
Sure, the stores have those wipes available for the handle of the cart. But what about the rest of the chrome-plated stainless stel beast?
On occasion … I think once each week … the staff at the Kroger I shop at take all the carts into the parking lot and hose them down. This is good in some ways, but in a lot of instances you’re just giving the bacteria a nice shower.
As to what the PureCart system does, the ABC News report describes the process:
The machines … spray a misty peroxide solution over the entire cart after every use that is guaranteed to kill 99 percent of germs, including E. coli and salmonella.
Sounds like a plan.