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.
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.”
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.”
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.