The BBC has been accused of ‘ridiculous scaremongering’ after it encouraged viewers to use baby wipes to clean the handles of supermarket trolleys.
During an investigation into bacteria on baskets and trolleys, footage was shown of someone cleaning a handle with a wet wipe.
But the single-use cloths cause huge damage to beaches as well as clogging sewers.
Presenter Kirstie Allsopp was among viewers who criticised Wednesday night’s programme.
Presenter Kirstie Allsopp was among viewers who criticised Wednesday night’s programme and its use of wipes
BBC One’s Watchdog Live showed footage of trolleys covered with rubbish, including beer cans and food packaging. The programme’s investigators then took swabs from both a basket and trolley at ten branches of each of the big four supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrison’s.
After swabs were sent off to a lab to be tested, the base of one Tesco’s trolley was revealed to be contaminated with salmonella which Kate Thompson, of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in Wales, said posed a ‘small risk’ of making shoppers ill.
Investigators took swabs from both a basket and trolley at ten branches of each of the big four supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrison’s
A clip of someone wiping the handle of their trolley down with a wet wipe was then shown.
Property expert Miss Allsopp wrote on Twitter: ‘When BBC Watchdog starts encouraging people to wipe trolley handles with anti-bacterial wipes we know that we are definitely all going to hell in a handcart’. She added: ‘Wipes are destroying our sewage system.’
Others labelled the segment ‘irresponsible scaremongering’. One wrote: ‘I must remember not to lick the bottom of my trolley the next time I go shopping.’
But others welcomed the investigation, with one viewer vowing to never use a trolley again. Tesco told Watchdog that food safety was its ‘absolute priority’. The BBC said: “Watchdog Live did not tell viewers to wipe down their trolleys. It does however raise serious questions about the cleaning processes in the big four supermarket chains, after tests found high levels of bacteria on baskets and trolleys, including salmonella.”