Bags for life must be here to stay, but consumer caution urged

Publication Date: 4th October 2017

Subject: Food safety

Following the news that bags for life can spread deadly bacteria if they are re-used for both raw and 'ready to eat' food, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has urged consumers to stick with the bags but be cautious about which food stuffs are placed in which bag.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have raised the dangers of mixing bag usage, with it being highlighted that some food packaging can carry salmonella, E.coli and campylobacter; the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK.

However, bags for life play an invaluable role in improving environmental health across the country, contributing to the reduction of plastic waste going to landfill or incineration.  

Responding to the news, Tony Lewis, Head of Policy at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, said:

“Shoppers should absolutely be mindful of what food they are putting in which bag, and not mixing raw food with things which are ready to eat straight away. By being aware of the need for good hygiene, people can quite easily avoid picking up any damaging bacteria from their bags for life.”

“We must not cut down on our use of bags for life as a result of this warning from the Food Standards Agency. The excessive use and disposal of plastics in our country is a growing problem which affects all of us and deeply damages our environment. Bags for life are integral to efforts to tackle this.”


Notes to editors 

For enquiries, please contact Ross Matthewman, Public Affairs and PR Manager, on 02078275922 or 

About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH):   

The CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing more than 9,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved. 

Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities. The CIEH campaigns to ensure that government policy addresses the needs of communities and business in achieving and maintaining improvements to health and health protection.  

For more information visit and follow the CIEH on Twitter @The_CIEH



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