The Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) is strongly defending the safety of reusable plastic packaging in the food supply chain, stating that the safety of these containers is very well documented and is supported by comprehensive and science-based cleaning protocols.
The RPA issued their statement in response to a recent report publicized by the Canadian Corrugated and Containerboard Association (CCCA), which said that certain hurdles still exist when it comes to ensuring reusable plastic containers are clean and lack unsafe microbial contamination.
“The report sponsored by the special interest group for the corrugated box business is based on non-commercial and unlikely what-if scenarios created in a laboratory,” says Tim Debus, president of the RPA. “The contrived circumstances do not reflect the real world results of the supply chain, or change the fact that billions of reusable packaging products are safely used each year to transport food in North America alone with no detection of a food safety risk.”
According to the RPA, historically, the reusable packaging industry has followed rigorous cleaning and testing protocols that meet or exceed government regulations. In 2015, the RPA strengthened the safety of reusable packaging further by issuing industry standards for the effective cleaning, monitoring, and testing of reusable packaging to verify safe use.
“RPA members are committed to maintaining our longstanding food safety record through exceptional standards for the cleaning of food-contact products,” says Debus. “We created these guidelines even though there has been no incident or evidence in a commercial application of reusable packaging that indicates a higher risk to food safety versus other packaging options. And the RPA standards are subject to a continuous improvement program to make sure all guidelines follow the best science and processes available.”
The RPA’s statement concluded by saying that the association stands by its industry’s safety record, the stringent measures for cleaning reusable products, and the extensive data collected every day validating reusable packaging’s safe use for food applications.