A transparent film that claims to eradicate potentially deadly bacteria on supermarket trolley handles is being launched this week.
VanCom AntiBac uses silver ion technology to prevent bacteria from living on trollies. The ions disrupt the bacteria cell walls to prevent them from growing, stop them from producing energy and interrupting their DNA to stop new cells from forming. It has been in development since 2006 and is being taken to market this month.
Swabs taken from 120 trolley handles across the big five revealed a cocktail of bacterial species the film would eliminate. Staph aureus was present on all 120 trolleys, while 68 hosted campylobacter, 36 were home to E.coli, and 10 revealed traces of listeria. In addition, faeces and urine were present on 54 trolleys. Some 53 trolleys also contained fungal traces, which indicate bird droppings.
While exposure does not lead to extreme illness for most shoppers, VanCom AntiBac MD Mark Doherty said most people experienced symptoms akin to a mild allergic reaction as their bodies released defences.
It commissioned interviews with 1,840 shoppers, which found that while 96% of shoppers reported no ailments at the start of their shop, 87% reported feeling low and fatigued afterwards.
Doherty even said shoppers who felt unwell were more likely to forget an item and not want to go back into the store to get it, resulting in lost sales for retailers.
The coating will cost £3.09 per trolley or £4.99 if they want them fitted by VanCom. Doherty said each coating would last for five years and suggested retailers could sell advertising on the film.
“The proof that bacteria exists on shopping trolley handles is conclusive,” he explained. “There is a very real issue of health and wellbeing among shoppers, which will be at the top of the supermarkets’ agendas.”