Before you get to the grocery store think about what you eat at a restaurant. One inspector I know eats only dishes that are cooked at a high temperature–nothing from the salad bar (a metropolis for bacteria)–as an attempt to reduce the germs he eats.
A couple of things to keep in mind when visiting the grocery store–from an old grocery store veteran.
1. Always wipe the handle of the grocery cart with an antiseptic wipe. Tests reveal that over 50% of the cart handles have traces of fecal matter.
2. Don’t buy fresh products from the deli that are sliced, cut, wrapped or otherwise handled by the workers. Listeria bacteria lives for several days on slicers, counters, metal, wood and plastic surfaces. Few deli work area are cleaned adequately to remove the bacteria. Better to purchase prepackaged meats, cheeses, etc. That is no guarantee the product is germ-free but the chance of the product being tainted is reduced.
3. After purchasing produce at the store wipe it dry–or better yet, wash and dry the produce–as soon as you can. Two reasons why: a) the surface of the produce may have dirt, bacteria, fertilizer–who know what that might contain–that is unhealthy. b) the moisture on the surface of the produce accelerates spoilage. Keep the product dry and it will last longer. People knowledgeable about shelf-life use produce they buy within 3 days after purchase because it’s hard to know how long ago the product was harvested.
4. Glance at the floor under display cases when you get a chance. If it’s dirty under the cases the store may have other problems, like they are not cleaning visible surfaces adequately or the debris under the cases might be food for rodents!