Monthly Archive for April, 2013

Increase in Food Poisoning linked to reusable “green bags”

Unwashed 'green bags' have been linked to food poisoning by studies overseas. Photo: Wayne Taylor

The Canberra Times is reporting that counties in the USA that have imposed plastic bag bans on supermarkets have also had higher rates of food poisoning and subsequent deaths.

The Canberra Times article was titled “Study links plastic bag ban with increase in food-related deaths” and is available online, and references the research from the Social Science Research Network website. The referenced article is titled “Grocery Bag Bans and Foodborne Illness”

Both references can be accessed by clicking on the links above.

The Canberra Times article indicated:


One study conducted in California and Arizona found most shoppers did not use separate bags for meat and vegetables, did not wash reusable grocery bags, and often stored them in car boots, resulting in the growth of bacteria.

“If individuals fail to clean their reusable bags, these bacteria may lead to contamination of the food transported in the bags. Such contamination has the potential to lead to health problems and even death,” the paper states.

Focussing on a plastic bag ban introduced in San Francisco in 2007, the paper then compares the instances of emergency hospital admissions and deaths for food-related illness across counties with and without plastic bag bans, as well as across time periods before and after bans are introduced.

“We find that both deaths and ER visits spiked as soon as the ban went into effect,” the paper concludes.

In short, the article was referencing the importance of washing ALL food contact surfaces that are reused.

There are also some bacterias that are environmental so even if the produce you have purchased is in a bag it may not be protected…..

To protect consumers, the Food Standards Code has specific references in Standard 3.2.2 that relate to Single Use Items to prevent potential contamination.

Environmental studies have also found that the traditional cloth “green” environmental bags need to be used almost 200 times to have a lower impact on the environment. (as shown above in the photo by Wayne Taylor)

Maxpak Australasia, a HACCP Certified food grade packaging supplier have a great range of single use biodegradable bags that are great for the environment AND as a single use item, great for managing the safety of the foods you serve.

Sydney Morning Herald article on NSW “Name and Shame” website

On the 5th April 2013 our Founder and Managing Director Mr Gavin Buckett was interviewed for an article in the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Sunday newspaper the Sun Herald.

The article was on the NSW Food Authority Name and Shame website and indicated the number of businesses that had appeared on the site, including references to the businesses that had appeared on multiple times.

The article appeared on the Sun Herald front page and and then continued on Sun Herald Pages 8 and 9 with a double page spread.

We have attached the pages for your reference via the links above.

Let’s hope that there is a follow up article on the positive aspects of the NSW Food Authority “Scores on Doors” system as well as those businesses that choose to be HACCP Certified.

1 in 10 NSW food businesses are listed on the Food Authority website

On Friday, I was interviewed by Esther Han, a food reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald and we discussed the benefits and problems associated with the NSW Food Authority Name and Shame website.

I will post the article online once I receive the electronic copy of the article, however if you can read the online version of the Sydney Morning Herald article.

Staggering that 1 in 10 business can be listed, and some offended on multiple occasions, however at The Gourmet Guardian we prefer to focus on the positives and recognise the 90% of food businesses that are NOT on the list.

The NSWFA through their local council Environmental Health Officers also have a Scores on Doors program highlighting the businesses doing a good job.

So keep an eye out for the NSW rated 5 star businesses and those that have HACCP Programs in place.

We have multiple HACCP Certified clients in NSW. We will shortly be publishing a list of businesses we can recommend.

Support the businesses doing a SAFE job.