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MailTribune.com
  • Doggie bags: not really great for sandwiches

  • All dog parks and some trails have dispensers of plastic baggies to use for your pet's waste. Being a responsible pet owner, I always grab a couple, since we have a couple of dogs. The other day, I found one in my pocket and placed it in our usual plastic bag drawer. My wife was freaked when I used one to keep a sandwich in the fridge. What is your opinion? Is it safe?
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  • All dog parks and some trails have dispensers of plastic baggies to use for your pet's waste. Being a responsible pet owner, I always grab a couple, since we have a couple of dogs. The other day, I found one in my pocket and placed it in our usual plastic bag drawer. My wife was freaked when I used one to keep a sandwich in the fridge. What is your opinion? Is it safe?
    — Dale S., Medford
    If you want our opinion, Dale, we'd suggest that out of an abundance of caution you not use doggie bags for sandwiches. You never know what kind of cross-contamination you might get.
    First of all, you don't know how sterile the bags were when they were put in the outdoor box. Also, you don't know if someone grabbed a bunch of bags with a dirty hand, then crammed them back into the box. If you're a "germaphobe," the mind reels.
    Now, we checked in with a few companies that sell doggie bags and most indicate on their websites they are "hygienic" on their website, though none suggested they could be used specifically for food storage.
    Bruce Dickens, Ashland Parks and Recreation superintendent, pretty much agreed with our assessment, Dale.
    "They're designed to pick up dog waste," he said. "Other than that, we have no way of knowing what the quality control is at the manufacturer. If it were up to me, I would choose not to."
    Dickens said there is probably minimal risk, but just enough to make him leery of using a doggie bag for food.
    Dickens said the issue comes down to common sense.
    "Would you wrap your sandwich in toilet paper?" he asked.
    Well, Dale, maybe you might, but don't tell your wife.
    We checked in with Brian Sjothun, director of Medford Parks and Recreation, who also didn't think much of the idea. "I wouldn't eat a sandwich wrapped in a doggie-doo bag," he said.
    By the way, Medford has an annual budget of $8,000 to buy the bags, and the city goes through 33,000 of them in a year.
    Dale, we think you'd better listen to your wife on this one.
    Email questions to youasked@mailtribune.com.
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