While a large majority of food shoppers in Northern Ireland have used reusable bags, nearly two-thirds of them do not keep raw meat and fish separate.
Northern Ireland shoppers are risking their health when packing their food in reusable bags, a new survey by YouGov on behalf of the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland has shown. Of those asked, 65% admitted to not keeping a separate reusable shopping bag to use only for raw meat and fish, putting them at risk of food poisoning.
Almost all of those who took part in the survey (96%) said they have used reusable bags for food shopping since the carrier bag levy was introduced in Northern Ireland in April this year. Of those people, 82% said that they do separate fresh raw meat and fish from other ready to eat foods, but only 35% of those respondents who do this keep a separate reusable bag that they only use for fresh raw meat and fish items.
Michael Jackson, Head of Food Safety at FSA in NI, explains: “Packing raw meat and fish with ready to eat foods can lead to spreading germs which can cause food poisoning, especially if there are any spillages or leaks from the raw meat packaging. While a carrier bag may look clean, there is always the potential for these germs to spread onto food which is ready to eat. That’s why it’s a good idea to have separate, identifiable bags for raw and ready-to eat-foods.”