A supermarket shopping trolley has 361 times more bacteria than a toilet door knob, laboratory test reveals.
Three-quarters of trolleys across a range of stores swabbed by scientists contained the most harmful type of bacteria, which can include deadly escherichia coli (E. coli) and salmonella.
The discovery was made after testing handle surfaces from four types of stores: traditional grocery stores, budget stores, superstores, and upscale stores.
But how clean are New Zealand shopping trolleys?
New Zealand supermarket franchises responded to the test's findings with a Foodstuffs representative explaining while they regularly clean their shopping trolleys, the findings are somewhat misplaced.
"As much as the science behind the study may have merit, the focus on shopping trolley handles as a medium for conveying bacteria or viruses is misplaced. Rather, the focus should remain on good personal and hand hygiene practices.
"Microbiological swabs taken of door handles, light switches, bank ATMs, your computer key board, money, telephones, escalator handles etc. would result in the same outcome, if not worse. It is simply not practicable to sanitise each and every surface after use.
"Trolleys, like all other equipment in our stores, are cleaned and maintained regularly in addition to being exposed to weather and sunlight which are nature's best sanitisers."
Foodstuffs have also introduced hand sanitiser stations in their New World and Pak'nSave stores to help customers best fight germs.
A Countdown spokesperson also responded, telling the Herald they do daily cleans of their equipment.
"Our shopping trolleys and baskets are monitored regularly to ensure they are clean," they said.
"There is also daily spot cleaning for any issues that may arise, like a packaging leak.
"If a customer does happen to find a trolley or basket that isn't up to scratch then we'd encourage them to let the service desk know so that this can be cleaned."
The lab test findings also found budget store trolleys contained 270 times more germs than a toilet handle.
Those at larger superstores surprisingly were cleaner, but still had three times the level of bacteria than a kitchen counter top.