We need to look at these things in the round


It has to be said that there's a certain giggleness to this story about how all those shopping bags for life are poisoning everyone:

Bags for life could be a threat to shoppers' health because they harbour potentially deadly food poisoning bugs, according to research.

The reason is that some foods will be contaminated with E. Coli: not usually a problem when you cook your food. But if some of that comes off on the inside of the bag then it will grow and fester and thus contaminate all of the other food which is put into it, some of which of course will not be cooked before being eaten. Especially if you're properly green and insist on purchasing fruit and salads loose, rather than packaged.

So, what are we all supposed to do about this?

Professor Charles Gerba, who led the study said: “Our findings suggest a serious threat to public health, especially from bacteria such as E.coli, which were detected in half of the bags sampled. “Consumers are alarmingly unaware of these risks and the critical need to sanitise their bags on a weekly basis.”

OK, so we should all wash out bags in nice hot water: or perhaps pour a little bleach over them.

However, and there is a serious point here other than just giggling at those who would insist we should risk poisoning for the sake of the planet. Which is that it is exactly those Greens, greens and environmentalists who tell us that we must look at things in a holistic manner, include all of the effects of our trampling upon Gaia's skin, who have told us that we must not use plastic bags because of the resources used in doing so. But in their analysis of using bags for life they have not included the resources used to produce hot water, nor the effect of bleach poured down drains across the country.

We don't actually know whether any resources have been saved: for those shouting that we must act in a holistic manner have, as is so often the case, failed to analyse the point holistically.