Health/ Humor

Checkout This Vegan

cross contamination grocery store veganWhile checking out at the grocery store, many vegans are starting to get grossed out about placing their groceries on the checkout counter belt. Notice how dirty the belt (that we place our groceries on) is at both the normal checkout and self-checkout? Some vegans might not care, but this was a topic of discussion in a Facebook group that got over 300 likes and a zillion comments, with some helpful and hilarious suggestions.

Clean checkouts are obviously not just a vegan issue, so we can raise awareness for everyone that is trying to stay healthy. Surfaces can harbor staph or MRSA, among a plethora of other microbes and bacteria. You can Google “Surface Bacteria” for more info: live-outside-the-body.aspx live_n_4509419.html

Per the Facebook thread on June 27, 2014, vegans that are Level 5* and over brought to my attention that they want to avoid placing their organic broccoli down in carnivore juice or schmutz. Most of our plant food needs to be weighed, so the scale is yet another surface that will be cleaned by our vegetables. Don’t clean your scale with my kale!

These belts and surfaces can be contaminated with all sorts of germs and bacteria. Ew! We can call it “Belt Funk”.

Checkout counters aren’t the only places or counters we risk possible contamination:

“This is like at the sandwich place, when they slide the paper past the tuna and mayo…risking just a corner of it touching that tuna salad…AAAAAUUUUGGGGH…and then I ask for a new paper or I have to give a seminar before they start, often in 2 languages.” – Michele the Trainer (I think the mayonnaise would have grossed me out when I was an omnivore!)

“I ask them to use a clean knife at the sandwich shop.” – Alexander R Cervantes** (Good idea!)

Here is the summation of some of the great ideas to avoid dragging our food over the Belt Funk:

  • Ask the cashier to wipe down the belt
  • Wipe down the belt yourself (Andrea Fixler Medalie and Crystalina Ketterman**)
  • Hand your food directly to the cashier
  • Keep your food inside your recyclable bags
  • Bring a paper bag to put your produce on (Miranda Ijiyemi**)
  • Support all vegan checkout lines (Maaikw Zwartjes**)
  • Support all vegan grocery stores (Crystalina Ketterman, Dawn Brown, and Maaikw Zwartjes**)

What have you seen at your stores? Do your cashiers have wipes? I have not noticed but will endeavor to ask my local stores.

Would you bring in your own organic cleanser or essential oils and clean rags to clean the belt with? (If you’re vegan you’re tossing those rags after for certain.) I would love to observe the store’s reaction to this one!

grocery store cross contamination veganSince writing this I have started handing the food directly to the cashier and it has worked (with food that didn’t require the scale). Then I offered to bag it myself and it went right into my bag after. (Yes I know we don’t know where the cashier’s hands have been, lol, and I’ve never seen gloves on a checkout person.)

In my experience, keeping food inside my recyclable bags means that the cashier removes it from the bag to scan or weigh it. That idea didn’t work for me. We all know that we have to wash, wipe down or replace reusable bags often to avoid bacteria on our bags too.

I like the paper bag idea, but have not implemented it yet. My paper bags usually go to the compost. Vegan Lines and stores are absolutely the dream ideal. In California and apparently in Germany there are 100% plant based or vegan grocery stores. Have you been there and if so, what have you observed?

Please chime in with your comments and suggestions. Also, if you are vegan, are you a Level 5 or Level 10 Vegan? I think Level 11 Vegans should get a cape!


*Defined by The Simpsons

**via Facebook June 27, 2014

Title idea from Crystalina Ketterman

Image source: Checkout Lane |

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