A recent laboratory test reveals that a supermarket shopping cart has 361 times more bacteria than the areas around a toilet bowl.
Scientists swabbed carts at an array of stores and found that three-quarters of the carts contained the most harmful type of bacteria, which can include deadly Escherichia coli (E. coli) and salmonella.
The horrendous discovery was found after testing handle surfaces from four types of stores: traditional grocery stores, budget stores, superstores, and upscale stores.
Budget stores were the next grossest, with its carts containing 270 times more germs than that of a toilet handle.
Shockingly those at larger superstores were cleaner, but still had three times the level of bacteria than a kitchen counter top.
Upmarket store carts fared the best, containing the same bacteria as a computer keyboard. Nevertheless, despite being the cleanest overall, nearly 29 percent contained bacillus. Unfortunately, bacillus is commonly linked to food poisoning.
On average, over 90 percent of gram-negative bacteria found on nearly 75 percent of all shopping carts are seen as harmful to humans and most types are resistant to antibiotics.
The report did not break the bacteria down further. But along with E. coli and salmonella, gram-negative bacteria is known to also cause pneumonia, and sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea.
24 percent of surface germs were identified as gram-positive rods. Although mostly harmless, this type causes the majority of bothersome skin infections.
The report stated that just under one percent of carts tested were positive for gram-positive cocci. Which is commonly associated with skin infections, in addition to pneumonia and blood poisoning.
And although only in trace amounts, bacillus, which is commonly linked to food poisoning was also detected, yeast was apparent as well which causes skin infections.
“Like gram-negative rods, gram-positive cocci can carry parasites and pathogens harmful to humans,” the report notes.
“In fact, gram-positive cocci are responsible for a third of all bacterial infections that impact humans.”
So next time you go to the supermarket, be sure to wipe down that handle.
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