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RPA strengthening sanitation for reusable plastic containers

By Jenni Spinner+

26-Feb-2014
Last updated the 26-Feb-2014 at 09:39 GMT

The Reusable Packaging Association is working toward stronger sanitation standards for reusable plastic containers.
The Reusable Packaging Association is working toward stronger sanitation standards for reusable plastic containers.

The Reusable Packaging Association is bringing together industry members to hammer out stronger sanitation guidelines for reusable food containers.

The Reusable Plastic Containers (RPC) Food Safety Standards Committee will include RPA member companies. The group will gather input from produce growers, retailers, and shipping companies as it works to strengthen the sanitation standards.

Growing demand

RPA president Jerry Welcome told FoodProductionDaily the committee is forming at a time the RPC industry is seeing continued growth in food manufacturing and other industries.

With that growth, many of our grower/shipper and retail customers have requested more interaction and information regarding the RPC sanitation and food safety programs of our member companies,” he said. “To properly prepare for future growth in our industry, excellent food safety and sanitation must become standard to which all parties are aligned.”

Stronger confidence

Paul Pederson, director of food safety and compliance for RPA member company IFCO systems, is chairing the committee.

“The reusables indus­try already has rig­or­ous clean­ing and test­ing pro­to­cols that meet or exceed accepted stan­dards, and these have proven to be highly effec­tive,” Pederson said. “We want to establish common and public standards that will further increase confidence in the sanitation and food safety of RPCs.”

Increasing acceptance

Welcome told FPD the committee supports the RPA’s goal of fortifying the RPC industry in a number of ways.

First, it will help us gain greater marketplace acceptance by addressing food safety issues that might be of concern to users,” he said. “Second, it brings the expertise of the membership together in a collaborative environment to develop industry practices that address issues about reusable containers by food companies. Finally, the RPA is recognized as a credible source of information for users, regulators and others who have an interest in the safe movement of food goods throughout the supply chain.”

While the committee has no set-in-stone deadlines, it does have intermediary goals. One of those is to have an educational program based on the committee’s work at PACK EXPO International 2014, scheduled November 2-5 in Chicago.