That’s it, I’ve had it with buying bulk foods in large bins with scoops, specifically the nuts and seeds! Since I’ve transitioned to a healthier lifestyle, I’ve shopped at a variety of grocery stores that sell bulk foods, such as legumes, grains, flour, nuts and seeds, in large plastic bins. By having the large bins filled to the rim with food, the stores are able to offer its customers, lower pricing with no limits on the purchase amount–just buy what you want. Though I loved the fact that I could purchase two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds or 1 pound of hazelnuts, I have decided that I will no longer buy foods in large bins that require a scoop after observing a number of people use their hands to sample their nuts, seeds, etc.! I even saw a child with a parent who put the scooper next to her ear using it as a telephone handset! By the time the mother saw the child it was too late! I was shocked and not happy!
Now, not all bins are bad. In fact, there are several different kinds of bins that are used for bulk foods; some bins are large, square, and clear while others are super large wooden barrels, both require a scoop. Other bulk food bins are vertical with a handle and spout that dispense the food whenever the customer pulls the handle downward. Of course, by this description, you can guess which one is the best–yes, the vertical bins are less likely to be a problem because the customers cannot touch the food or the apparatus used to get the food out of the bin! Unfortunately, not many stores have the vertical bins, and I am not sure why, other than it’s probably two reasons–cost or available space to put them; typically these bins are along the walls.
Grocery stores should really reconsider how they manage the bulk foods department in their stores. If they don’t, these large open bins pose as a potential public health threat to their customers and our society! Yes, its just this serious! Why? Food is one of the major hosts of bacteria, and in fact bacteria is the biggest concern contributing to most foodborne illness cases, such as Shigella, Salmonella, or Listeria Monocytogenes, which can all transmitted through cross contamination–not washing hands after using the restroom. So, now you understand, what this means–Person X just used the bathroom but didn’t wash hands. Person X wanted a snack but wanted to sample first so decided to reach into the bin to get a few nuts. Five minutes later, Person Y decides to purchase those same nuts that Person X sampled after using the restroom and not washing his hands. Person Y eats the nuts, then the next day Person Y starts to feel weird but doesn’t know why and then goes to work at a restaurant in the food prep area, and the rest is history! It’s the movie, “Outbreak,” coming to life!
So, now you see my frustration and concern. So, I’ve decided to do something about it; I plan to write to my grocery store managers and ask that they remove the large open bins and replace them with vertical bins for the bulk foods. I encourage you to do the same thing, especially if you are a bulk bin shopper like me! It’s a matter of health and safety!