The University News in Manitoba reports that food service and home kitchens cause the majority of foodborne illness in society and not reusable grocery bags. Dr. Rick Holley, a food safety and food microbiology professor with the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, says
I don’t think foodborne illness in humans has developed as a result of contaminated reusable grocery bags.
There really hasn’t been very much work done in this area.
My suspicion is though that when the work is done we will find that this is not a major contributor to foodborne illness but rather, as we have always thought, the handling of food at food service and the home, the kitchen is the second most frequent place where foodborne illness develops.
That relates to, for whatever reason, our inability as consumers to consistently follow the recommendations that we get from government agencies about how to handle foods in the kitchen.
Food safety recommendations are available from a number of government agencies, yet foodborne illness continues to occur. The consumer definitely has an obligation to inform oneself on matters of food safety to minimize the risk of excruciating barfing. The problem, however, occurs when the product is already contaminated at some level through the farm to fork chain. In this case the informed consumer is out of luck.
The most frequent setting for foodborne illness to develop is in the food service industry and that speaks to the need for continuing education both at the food service level but certainly at home as well.
Yes, food service workers need to be continually informed on matters of food safety. Many food service operators take a food safety certification course, typically 8 hours in length, to meet regulatory requirements. I agree that this is a good thing but the delivery of the course could use some work. Classroom settings make people nervous and pending a dreaded final exam is not effective. Reminds me of Jason Stackhouse from True Blood trying to write an exam, you may forget certain things cause your little friend anxiety kicks in and guess what retention goes out the window. Perhaps on-site training coupled with info sheet postings for quick reference may work better- basis for my Masters thesis.