It is difficult to see anything beyond the very front of the shelve—they are usually pretty packed. But, just because you don’t see dirt, it doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t exist. Martina D., a former grocery store employee, has an icky first-person account of the unpleasant state of the backs, and bottoms, of grocery shelves.
“Unless there is a spill on them, they are not cleaned much,” she says. “In one location I worked, we were moving the shelves around to redesign the store. Not only was there various food [residue] under them, but also a huge cockroach!” This is an unpleasant discovery regardless of whether you’re an employee or customer.