Bugs on trolleys

We’ve been in Australia for over eight years now.

The girls are off in the French territory of New Caledonia doing Amy-directed French biz and yesterday they went to Lifou, Island, part of the Loyalty Islands which the French decided would be useful way back when.

I look forward to their tales.

I spoke at an Australian food safety conference in 2004 on the Gold Coast and mentioned something about grocery trolleys in an interview and that segment made it to the national news.

Not my intent.

I was trying to point out possible short cummings of food safety for shoppers, and subsequently spent four hours going through my local Coles – biggest supermarket in Australia – with the vp of food safety, pointing out their vulnerabilities, like:

  • if you’re going to cut a melon in half, please ensure it is kept at 4C (better not to cut it in half)
  • label frozen meat products properly i.e. is it needle tenderized, are those frozen dished raw frozen or cooked frozen
  • what criteria do you have for produce on shelves.

The objective of this study was to identify food safety risk factors associated with supermarket trolleys (grills and handles) and handheld baskets.  Indicator microorganisms evaluated were those detected by aerobic plate count (APC), yeast and molds (YM), Enterobacteriaceae (EB). Environmental listeria (EL), coliforms (CF), and E. coli (EC).  In addition, listeria monocytogenes, staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli O157 and salmonella sp. Were tested for.  Trolley grills (n=36) had 2.7 x 102 CFU/cm2.  Trolley handles (n=36) had 2.7 x 106 of CF and 5.2 CFU/cm2 of YM.  The bottom of handheld baskets (n=25) had 3.5 x 105 CFU/cm2 of CF and 5.07 CFU/cm2 of EC.  S. aureus was found on 96% of the baskets, 50% of the trolley handles (18 out of 36 samples), and 42% of the trolleys’ grills.  E. coli O157 was identified on 17% of baskets, 3% on trolley grills, and 3% on handles.  Salmonella sp. was detected on 16% of baskets and 8% of trolley grills.  L. monocytogenes was detected on 17% of the bottoms of handheld baskets but on none of the other samples.  These results suggest the need for implementation of sanitation programs to regularly clean trolleys and baskets, as well as for consumer education. 

Microbial contamination of grocery shopping trolleys and baskets in west Texas, 2020

Food Protection Trends vol. 40 no. 1

Alexandra Calle, Breyan Montoya, Andrea English, and Mindy Brashears


Supermarket risks: NZ to get tough on children riding in trolleys after hundreds injured

Hundreds of supermarkets are considering getting tougher on children riding in shopping trolleys after 401 kids were injured by trolley falls in 2015 – the highest number in five years.

shopping.carts.nz.jan.16Figures from the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) show the resulting claims cost taxpayers more than $37,223. Injuries included soft tissue damage, cuts, dental injuries and concussions.

Pak ‘n Save Petone, in Lower Hutt, recently placed a large sign near its entrance asking all customers to restrain their children because of recent “horrific” injuries.

Owner Leo O’Sullivan said a toddler fell out of a trolley about a fortnight ago and was badly hurt.

“They weren’t restrained and they banged their head. Plus their teeth went through their lip. They were covered in blood.”

Foodstuffs New Zealand said it was considering displaying additional safety posters in trolley bay areas at its stable of 475 supermarkets nationwide, which included all Pak ‘n Saves, New Worlds, and Four Squares.