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Although a recent article in the Tampa, Fla., Tribune raising concerns about lead levels in the reusable bags sold by Southeastern grocery chains Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. and Publix Super Markets Inc. has spurred the former company to withdraw its bags from sale, the latter characterized the newspaper report as “misinformation.”
Maria Brous, director of media and community relations for Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix, told Progressive Grocer: “The allowable parts per million in bags [are] 300 parts per million. This is the same standard considered safe for children's toys.”
Continued Brous: “We have tested our Publix private label reusable cloth bags, and all have tested well below the 300 parts per million, coming in at .8 and .5 parts per million. The one bag in question [in the Tribune article] is a USF polypropelene reusable bag that tested at 194 parts per million -- still under the allowed 300 parts per million.”
Since the testing revealed safe lead levels, the company deemed no action was necessary. “We are not issuing a recall on the bags, as there is not a risk or health concern,” said Brous.
Media reports on elevated lead levels in reusable bags in the Tribune and elsewhere have led to the opening this week of an official FDA probe into the products' safety.