The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has warned that bags for life carry a risk of food poisoning. If raw foods such as fish or meat are carried in a bag for life, even if there’s no obvious leak or spillage, can still cause problems as traces of contamination can be carried on the outer packaging.
Deadly food poisoning bacteria such as campylobacter and E coli can easily cross-contaminate from raw foods, eggs, vegetables with soil on, and even the packaging of raw foods.
The Food Standards agency now recommends using separate bags for raw meat, ready to eat food and non-food items. To avoid confusion the bags should be labelled, or colour coded and they should always be used for the particular type you assigned to them. So a raw food bag should always and only be used for raw food. All bags should be regularly cleaned as well. You should wash your hands when you get home and after unpacking your bags. Cotton bags are a good idea as these can be machine washed.
The FSA also recommends using insulated bags on warm days, or if leaving your shopping in the car for any length of time.
This article is a summary of the FSA’s advice and is intended as an introduction to the subject, if you wish to take any action to minimise the risk of food poisoning from reusable bags you should not rely on this article but read the FSA’s advice on their webpage; Read the Food Standards Agency advice here