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Your supermarket is filled with germs — here are 7 facts that will make you dread grocery shopping

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  • surveyed more than 100 grocery stores of varying size in 10 states in September 2017 and commissioned EMLab P&K in Ohio to test surfaces for bacteria.
  • Large swaths of harmful bacteria were found on almost all surfaces at upscale and budget, large and small grocery stores.
  • The study found the most harmful bacteria count on shopping carts.
  • Upscale supermarkets had the highest germ count in the produce aisle.


We all know to wash our hands after going to the bathroom, and to de-sanitize our keyboard regularly, but there's one place germs are hiding that we can't easily control: the grocery store. 

Think about it: You share shopping carts with strangers and pick up unwrapped produce that's been inspected by dozens of unseen hands., an online retailer for reusable shopping bags, recently released the results of a study in which they — in conjunction with EMLab P&K in Ohio — surveyed the bacteria levels at more than 100 grocery stores of varying sizes and price levels in 10 states across America. The survey covered New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Maine.

Lab workers spent months swabbing surfaces of shopping carts, refrigerator doors, and produce, and found some startling results: the dangerous bacteria count in traditional, budget, and upscale grocery stores was higher than in your bathroom, on the surface of your phone, or even at the bottom of Fido's food bowl.  

Keep scrolling to learn the unfortunate truth about the health risks in your local grocery store. 

SEE ALSO: 10 cleaning mistakes that are actually making your home dirtier

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Budget grocery store shopping carts have 270 times more bacteria than your toilet handle.

A budget grocery store cart has 8,112 bacteria colonies per square inch, while a toilet handle only has 30 bacteria colonies per square inch. 

Traditional grocery store shopping carts have 361 times more bacteria than a bathroom door knob.

Traditional grocery stores were by far the worst offenders when it came to dirty shopping carts. Their bacteria levels were almost 10 times the amount found at budget grocery stores, and 80 percent of the bacteria types found were considered harmful, antibiotic-immune, and could cause illnesses in humans. 

75% of germs identified in grocery shopping carts were harmful.

Overall, 75% of the grocery cart swabs tested at each of the 100 stores tested positive for a bacteria type known as "gram-negative rods," which are harmful to humans in 90% of cases. 

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