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King Kullen says reusable bags tested safe

Manufacturer tests revealed Tuesday that reusable bags sold at King Kullen stores are safe, while other chains on Long Island reported removing similar bags over concerns about lead content.

King Kullen, with stores in Nassau, Suffolk and Staten Island, removed about 5,000 bags Monday as a precaution after Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate and regulate reusable bags, which may contain unsafe levels of lead.

While deemed safe, the King Kullen bags will not yet return to store shelves.

"We have been assured by the manufacturer of our reusable bags that the bags have been tested and comply with all government safety standards," King Kullen vice president Thomas Cullen said in a statement. "As soon as we receive the final report from the manufacturer, the bags will again be available for sale in our stores."

A&P, Waldbaum's and Pathmark, all operated by The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., have also removed their bags and are testing them, spokeswoman Lauren La Bruno said in a statement.

ShopRite Supermarkets customers will still see reusable bags on the shelves, though some have been removed.

ShopRite-branded bags made of nonwoven polypropylene and woven polypropylene were tested before going on sale.

"Those bags are fine," ShopRite spokeswoman Karen Meleta said. "If there were ever an issue regarding lead levels, it would have never gotten to the shelf."

Stop & Shop spokeswoman Faith Weiner said reusable bags sold in stores are tested in advance and "fall below allowable levels of heavy metal content, including lead."

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