The Gross Reason to Never Put Unwrapped or Unbagged Food in Your Shopping Cart

Photo: Stocksy/Sean Locke
You buy organic everything, you grocery shop exclusively at Whole Foods, and you snag the majority of your groceries from the store's perimeter, where all the freshest, healthiest finds live. But despite your best efforts to avoid anything remotely toxic, germ-spreading, or ick-containing, there's one thing you might be overlooking: the cart you're pushing around and filling up.

According to Thrillist, shopping carts are seriously gnarly. First, consider how many people are touching them on any given day and the fact that they're probably not sanitized between uses—let alone even just regularly. Add in spills, flu-spreading cough and sneeze residue, and the various types of solids and liquids babies expel while sitting in the cart, and you've got a recipe for, well, something you probably don't want to be making in the first place.

The idea that there's a bit of poop somewhere near your kale isn't exactly settling.

But it gets worse: Research has found that 72 percent of grocery store shopping carts actually sport traces of fecal matter. As in...traces of poop...on roughly three out of four shopping carts. And, avoiding bathroom residue is probably not one of the thoughts that typically crosses your mind when you're browsing the aisles. (May the odds be ever in your favor the next time you're deciding which cart to grab.)

The good news is, according to one microbiology professor, the traces of fecal matter on said carts aren't actually harmful. But, still. The idea that there's a bit of poop somewhere near your kale isn't exactly settling.

The takeaway here: Always bag your produce before putting it in your cart (and wash it before you eat it). And consider carrying some wet wipes and natural hand sanitizer along with your shopping list.

Ick-factor aside, grocery shopping can be fun. Here's how one nutritionist wants you to master the aisles, and here's everything one insider says you need to know about shopping at Whole Foods

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