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Flour-Filled Check-Outs
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17 posts in this topic

I can't stand them, they piss me off, and I don't know what to do about it besides not going to any box grocery stores.

 

My last 2 visits to the grocery store I ended up putting my food onto a white powder dusted conveyor. I don't know what to do when I've already put half my cartful onto the conveyor, on the part that looks particulate free, and then a whole ton of flour appears on it. Sure, I can bag all my produce, but it still ends up all over the bags and then get in the fridge and on the counters...so much for any sort of finding about what food may be responsible for reactions, my produce probably hasn't been gluten free for 2 weeks! Soooo frustrating.

What do you do when you encounter this?

 

I also noticed biscuits and sponge cakes next to the berries, which itself isn't uncommon, but then I saw a bunch of crumbs on the shelving underneath (because it was half empty). Grrrr, so annoying.

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THIS is why I don't eat produce I can't wash. I worked in a grocery store for four

years, and they are like a gluten den of iniquity. Those conveyor belts get cleaned

MAYBE once a month. I spent four years watching filthy-handed small children

putting their hands all over everything as they walk through the store. Pick up an

apple, put it back down. Drop it on the floor, put it back on the shelf. Sneeze on it.

At least twice a day. All while eating a bag of Goldfish.

 

Never assume that something that's been sitting on a shelf where

hundreds of people come through a day is safe for you to sink your teeth into. My

strategy is simple- I clean my counters after I'm done putting away food, and I wash

all my produce with soap and water, even if it's wrapped. It's probably excessive,

but whatever, it keeps me safe. I also don't put 'naked' food down anywhere that

a 'package' has landed, thanks to the conveyor belt issue. I used to be one of the

cashiers who rarely if ever cleaned those off, and a bag of flour leaks on those at

least every other day. Those bags of flour always leak.....

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I think that people probably think I'm paranoid. But I assume that the outside of everything is covered in gluten. I won't touch anything in a grocery store that I am not relatively sure is gluten free enough for me to be reading a label of. Even then I am pretty sure that someone who was covered in gluten was probably touching it before me. I don't have quite that amount of experience in grocery, but my experience spans both checking and stocking. I will say that it isn't uncommon for a truck to come in and a bag of flour to be punctured and for everything in there to be covered in a dusting of it.

 

I'm also just as paranoid about my produce. Of course, I rarely buy produce any more due to participating in Bountiful Baskets. It keeps me from picking out what produce I get, but on the other hand I get a buttload of good quality produce for an insanely cheap price. Still, I wash everything and assume that somewhere along the line someone may have contaminated it. At least though I know that it wasn't be touched by children in a grocery store. (I'll be honest, there are few things I fear more than children. I am scared to death of gluten bomb toddlers.)

 

If your grocery has a self checkout you can wipe down the area before using it. No problem there. Also remember that you are putting all those things right in the cart, so it may all not matter anyway. The best defense is to simply wash the cart handle when you get there, don't touch more than you need to, and scrub everything your grocery bags touch after you get home. Wipe can tops before opening, scrub produce well, wash hands after handling all packaged food. Do I sound paranoid enough? If you do things like bring your groceries in, set them down then touch half the surfaces in your kitchen (doorknobs to pantry, fridge handle, light switches) make sure to wipe those also.

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Doesn't the soap get into a bunch of the food then? Like you wouldn't put soap on your meat, it'd sink in. I've washed beans a couple times with soapy water and even then some of the beans shrivelled and kept the odor of the soap, like some soapy water soaked in.

 

I guess I take the opinion that gluten's everywhere too, but I've always considered that as long as I come home, wash my hands, and whatever's in my house will be traces of traces, so I don't worry about it. Yesterday the conveyor just had sooo much flour on...anything visible isn't a trace anymore.

 

what a f***ing pain. Already we can't be lazy with cooking, now I have to clean whenever I go to the grocery store, which is all the time because I don't want wilted vegetables. My reusable bags aren't safe, I put things besides groceries in them, and they're not the kind that I could wash.

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I have often told the cashier to wipe down the conveyor before I put my stuff on it. Yep, I'm one of those annoying people... I see people roll their eyes at me all the time. But I don't care.

I also bag all my produce, because I figure a bit of flour stuck to the outside of a bag isn't as bad as flour stuck in broccoli florets.

And I refuse to walk through the store's bakery section. Also, I've noticed that the times I've wandered down the baking aisle (danger!) I hold my breath as I walk by the bags of flour. I do it subconsciously. Lol.

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I agree with Olly's mum, I would ask them to wipe the conveyor belt too. If you have already put part of your shopping on when you notice the flour mess, you could put the magnetic strip down which separates the shopping from you and the next customer - as long as you tell the person behind you not to put their shopping on until you're done. Instead of washing your shopping when you get home, you could always 'dry-wipe' them instead of washing unsuitable items. You could also have a word with the store manager about the cleanliness of the conveyor belt. I'm sure they wouldn't want to lose their customers. It is not just flour spills that need addressing, there are other issues, such as not wanting to put your food down where raw meat/poultry has leaked or milk etc.

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I've seen French bread baquettes on top of the bananas.  Kids in their carts eat Cherrios (I'm oat sensitive too), donuts and cookies.  I've washed the outside of packages after I take them home.

 

I wash my beans with soap.  I soak them in water first so that they will absorb plain water and not the soap.  Soap works much better than plain water to remove external gluten contamination.

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You all must go to some really filthy grocery stores! ( Insert laughing smilie guy here). I know the acceptable levels of cleanliness are different in different parts of the country. Here, the belts are always wet from getting cleaned all the time.

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You all must go to some really filthy grocery stores! ( Insert laughing smilie guy here). I know the acceptable levels of cleanliness are different in different parts of the country. Here, the belts are always wet from getting cleaned all the time.

That's what I was wondering.  Where are all these filthy conveyor belts and why do people still insist that gluten is everywhere, waiting to get ya?  :rolleyes:  

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That's what I was wondering. Where are all these filthy conveyor belts and why do people still insist that gluten is everywhere, waiting to get ya? :rolleyes:

I live in Toronto. Happens ALL THE TIME. I personally can't believe some of you have never put your groceries on a conveyor on which a previous customer had recently placed a bag of flour. Those bags leak like mad, and leave dust everywhere. If it's never happened to you, you must have luck on your side.

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I live in Toronto. Happens ALL THE TIME. I personally can't believe some of you have never put your groceries on a conveyor on which a previous customer had recently placed a bag of flour. Those bags leak like mad, and leave dust everywhere. If it's never happened to you, you must have luck on your side.

They... do? The only time i've seen them leak is if they are dropped in the flour area of the store.

 

The local store i go to is really clean, so i don't worry about it.

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If I shop at down times of the day, when it isn't busy, I find that I can get into a checkout aisle that is always clean. On the other hand, not everyone has the amount of time on their hands that I do. I don't always have the luxury of shopping at a time of day that isn't busy either. If you shop at (locally here) 4:30-6:30, just after business hours or on Fridays or Saturdays at all, or worst, anywhere near a college on a weekend around here, there is not downtime. The cashiers can't clean belts because there is back to back customers for hours on end. I'm not exaggerating that either. That may not be the case in small towns, but I live in a large city.

 

I have also noticed that it is not uncommon for bags of flour to "puff" when dropped on a belt. Heck, just go into a store, pick up a bag of flour and drop it 6 inches. You'll see it "puff" into the air. It isn't as if cashiers, baggers and every customer are handling bags of flour like they're a dozen eggs.

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" I soak them in water first so that they will absorb plain water and not the soap."

 

Ahhhhhhhh

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I think I've seen obvious suspicious floury substance a few times on a belt. I admit to noticing now.

I use plastic produce bags now when before I used reusable. Hate it but I'd need dozens of reusables and I know that wont happen.

I'm picky about screening what goes in my cart, and I wash my hands immediately when getting in. If I saw something suspicious on the belt i'd speak up and get the item replaced. I also wipe down counters at home and wash all produce I can with soap/water. Wouldn't do it to beans, though. Y'all are tougher than me on that one!

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I guess it may matter where you are, and also which stores you shop at.

I am not far from Ollie's Mom. The City of Markham has the City of Toronto as its southern boundary. I have not seen this problem. I avoid discount stores like No Frills, Food Basics, and Price Chopper. I don't often shop at Whole Paycheck Foods Market. Our primary store is Longo's, and I have never seen a problem there. And, yes, I do often do the shopping.

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I guess it may matter where you are, and also which stores you shop at.

I am not far from Ollie's Mom. The City of Markham has the City of Toronto as its southern boundary. I have not seen this problem. I avoid discount stores like No Frills, Food Basics, and Price Chopper. I don't often shop at Whole Paycheck Foods Market. Our primary store is Longo's, and I have never seen a problem there. And, yes, I do often do the shopping.

I do go to Price Chopper, Food Basics and (occasionally) No Frills. They definitely have dirty conveyors, and I'm always careful there. Loblaws, Sobeys and Longos are way cleaner. Metro is hit or miss. I've seen it spotless in them sometimes, and the worst offender at others. My in laws live in oakville (part of the greater Toronto area), and the Metro near their place is much cleaner than the ones in my area.

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Personally, I think we need to pay more attention to the people who have worked in grocery stores--and BELIEVE them when they say conveyor belts are contaminated with gluten frequently--in every store that sells wheat flour!

I don't understand how you think flour can be cleaned up by a simple wipe with a wet cloth!?  Really?  That just makes glue!  Just because you can't see it ...doesn't mean it's not there!

And the airborne flour?  Lasts a lot longer than you can see or smell it.

We need to be realistic.  All we can do is our best.  And our best will NOT make you completely gluten free in the USA--unless you live isolated on your own farm--that's not downwind from wheat fields.  Even if you think you're symptom-free, you may still be damaging your intestine.

I'm not saying not to try.  We HAVE to try our VERY best.  But we must be realistic.  If they ever develop medication that will deal with minute bits of gluten cross-contamination,  ALL CELIACS WILL NEED IT!

In the meantime, we must continue to do our best.  That's all we can do.

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