Revealed: The dirtiest parts of a supermarket

There's a reason other than pesticides for washing fruit and veges before eating them.
There's a reason other than pesticides for washing fruit and veges before eating them. Minerva Studio

FACE it, the world is full of germs. Even if we wash our hands regularly and make an effort to keep our homes and work spaces clean, germs are still all around us - including where we buy our food.

The most concentrated bacteria tends to be found in places the most touched by people. Studies have shown bathroom taps, door knobs, computer keyboards, ATM keypads, and restaurant menus are home to a plethora of germs.

So when it comes to the place you buy food, there are certain areas that, despite cleaning efforts, are more prone to housing germs than others.

Here are the top five germ spots in supermarkets:

1. The conveyor belt

A study by the International Association of Food Protection showed that yeast, mould, staph, and coliform live and grow on the belts, and a study by Michigan State University found bacteria on 100 per cent of belts tested.

2. Eftpos machines

Bad news for the majority of us who pay for groceries with a card that requires touching a pin pad: A study by microbiologist Richard Hastings claimed through a swabbing experiment that pin pads were dirtier than public toilets.

3. The check-out counter

There are a several things that each customer puts in contact with the check-out counter: money, hands, the base of a handbag. Multiplied by hundreds of customers throughout the day means a popular spot for bacteria.

4. Fruit and vegetables

How many times have you given an avocado a squeeze then moved on to select another? Ready to eat fruits such as apples and stone fruits could have been touched by dozens of people before you select it and take a bite.

Dents and bruising in fruit can also provide an entry point for pathogens.

5. Raw meat packaging

Ever picked up a packet of meat only to have it leak over you and the other packages?
A UK survey found 40 per cent of chicken packs in supermarkets showed bacteria on the outsides of the packaging.

Topics:  editors picks germs health supermarket

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