Study: Shopping carts teeming with fecal bacteria

Kim LaCapria

It's not just reusable grocery bags conspiring to infect you and your kids with dangerous, disgusting fecal germs- shopping carts are also a breeding ground for nasties normally found in excrement, according to a study.

If you thought those sanitizing wipes near the cart-corrals or cotton baby-holders for carts were kind of overkill, you may want to re-think that position. According to the study's findings, you're better off putting your hands all over the supermarket's dirty toilet seat than the handle of your grocery cart. The germiness is in part because people are filthy animals that don't practice good restroom hygiene, but also in part because the disease conduits are never actually cleaned, so the ickies build up over time.

Researchers from the University of Arizona studied handles of carts in four states. Out of 85 carts, a whopping 72% of handles tested positive for poop germs. 50% of the germy carts not only had fecal bacteria, but tested positive for E coli. Lead researcher and microbiology professor Charles Gerba explains:

"That's more than you find in a supermarket's restroom... That's because they use disinfecting cleaners in the restrooms. Nobody routinely cleans and disinfects shopping carts."