Thursday, February 3, 2011


GOOD EVENING LADIES AND GERMS: A characteristic trait of the true babooze is the reluctance to let facts get in the way of a good babble.

So now that we’ve dispensed with the preliminaries we can get down the real idiocy behind Babooze-In-Chief Mel Rapozo’s demagoguing of the plastic grocery bag ban.

Because had Rapozo actually tried to find out whether the claims that reusable bags carry pathogens that can cause disease are true he would have found that they were “just baloney.”

At least according to the respected independent publication Consumer Reports’ “Safety Blog,”

Turns out that media hysteria over bad bugs in reusable bags came from a study conducted with funding from- you’ve probably guessed already- the plastic bag industry.

“Which is why” said the article,

“we’re not so swayed by a recent report about reusable grocery bags and their potential to make you sick.

The report came out of the University of Arizona, Tucson and Loma Linda University in California. Smack on page one is this note: “The authors would like to acknowledge and thank the American Chemistry Council for providing funding to support this study.”

The American Chemistry Council is the trade group that advocates on behalf of plastic-bag manufacturers. Now why would the folks who make plastic grocery bags want to cast doubts on the safety of reusable grocery bags? Oh, right.”

After pointing out that the study was based on a grand total of 84 bags the article says that:

The researchers tested for pathogenic bacteria Salmonella and Listeria, but didn’t find any, nor did they find strains of E. coli that could make one sick. They only found bacteria that don’t normally cause disease, but do cause disease in people with weakened immune systems.

Our food-safety experts were underwhelmed as well. “A person eating an average bag of salad greens gets more exposure to these bacteria than if they had licked the insides of the dirtiest bag from this study,” says Michael Hansen, senior staff scientist at Consumers Union. “These bacteria can be found lots of places, so no need to go overboard.”

But Hansen notes that there are some reminders to take away from the study. It’s easy to spread bacteria from meat, fish, or poultry to other foods – in your kitchen or in your grocery bags. So we do think it’s wise to carry those items in disposable bags. Reusable bags are fine for most everything else, but it’s a good idea to wash them occasionally.

And of course the current ordinance on Kaua`i specifically exempts the bags used for vegetables and meats anyway.

We’re not suggesting that campaign contributions from places like Safeway Inc., the Kauai Beverage & Ice Cream Co., Ltd or Randall Francisco, the head of the Chamber of Commerce- which was the only entity that strenuously opposed the bill- influenced Rapozo’s decision to reverse the ban... but they couldn’t have hurt.

The fact is that the “amendment,” as currently written, would allow every single supermarket on the island to go back to those white plastic grocery bags when, first the original bill provided for bags for individual items like meats and produce and second, if people use common sense and wash out their reusable bags when they spill stuff in them there’s no health or sanitation issue.

Are we a bunch of baboozes who don’t have the smarts to know how to keep our food safe?

Well, apparently it takes one to know one.