Stories about: protecting your family from foodborne illness

Is BYOC shopping safe?

For many of us, buying organic snacks and toting recyclable grocery bags is the extent of our eco-conscious consumer habits. But for the extremely earth friendly, there’s a eco-shopping trend gathering steam called BYOC (bring your own container), where shoppers bring glass jars and containers with them to market to fill with products like coffee, grains, olive oil and even natural household cleaners. Most items are available in bulk, without all that pesky packaging.

From an environmentalist standpoint BYOC makes sense. Less packaging means less cereal boxes in our overcrowded land fills, fewer plastic bottles lingering on for the next few millennia and tree-lined streets free of plastic bags entwined in their branches.

How strong is the risk of contamination in non-packaged food?

It could also lead to more healthful eating. Eco-friendly stores tend to lean toward natural products, so if you’re shopping BYOC style, you’re far more likely to have choose between two types of whole grain cereal than between Fruity Pebbles and Lucky Charms.

From a parental point of view, one of the real advantages to BYOC shopping could be the lack advertising aimed at your kids. Take a stroll down an aisle at your local grocery story and you’re likely to see hundreds of cartoon characters hocking unhealthy food directly to your children. You can try to explain to a six-year-old that just because Dora the Explorer is featured on a box doesn’t mean it has to go into the cart, but don’t expect the conversation to go smoothly.

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