Concerns were raised recently that cloth grocery bags from Marketplace IGA may be toxic.

Concerns were raised recently that cloth grocery bags from Marketplace IGA may be toxic.

Lead in cloth bags sows confusion

A report on cloth grocery bags is causing confusion for customers and cashiers at a local grocery store.

A report on cloth grocery bags is causing confusion for customers and cashiers at a local grocery store.

Prompted by reports of lead in reusable grocery bags in the U.S., CTV tested four store-brand bags, including those from IGA, in November. The results showed IGA bags have less than 10 parts per million of lead, mostly from the painted logo on the bag. A level that the BCIT scientist conducting the test called “not a risk”, especially since food seldom even comes into direct contact with the bags.

Recently, cashiers at IGA in Port McNeill were told by their union representative that they shouldn’t be touching any cloth bags.

“It seems our store is the only one the union approached,” said Port McNeill IGA manager David Cote. The visit caused some confusion and concern for customers who were told by cashiers that they would no longer handle the bags.

But Cote said the very minimal danger really lies in bags that are deteriorated and it has always been the store’s policy to not handle bags that are dirty or deteriorated and may be germ-laden.

“Our cashiers can pack the bags if they are in good condition and the paint is intact,” said Cote. “We suggest that customers shouldn’t use worn bags for groceries.”