Reusable Packaging Assn. launches committee to establish sanitation standards, guidelines for reusable containers used throughout food supply chain; participants will include providers of reusable plastic containers, retailers, growers, shippers

ARLINGTON, Virginia , February 26, 2014 (press release) – The Reusable Pack­ag­ing Asso­ci­a­tion has estab­lished a new industry-wide com­mit­tee to estab­lish san­i­ta­tion stan­dards and guide­lines for reusable con­tain­ers used through­out the food sup­ply chain. The RPC Food Safety Stan­dards Com­mit­tee will include mem­ber­ship and input from providers of reusable plas­tic con­tain­ers (RPCs), retail­ers, grow­ers, and shippers.

“The reusables indus­try already has rig­or­ous clean­ing and test­ing pro­to­cols that meet or exceed accepted stan­dards, and these have proven to be highly effec­tive,” said Paul Ped­er­son, Direc­tor of Food Safety & Com­pli­ance, IFCO Sys­tems, and Com­mit­tee Chair. “How­ever, we want to estab­lish com­mon and pub­lic stan­dards that will fur­ther increase con­fi­dence in the san­i­ta­tion and food safety of RPCs.”

Ped­er­son said the ini­tia­tive was dri­ven in part by retail sup­port­ers of reusables who need doc­u­mented guide­lines to share with mem­bers of their sup­ply chains. Cur­rently, the providers of reusables and clean­ing ser­vices fol­low their own indi­vid­ual san­i­ta­tion and food safety stan­dards. Their prac­tices are not made pub­lic and likely vary by provider. The three major providers of RPCs (IFCO Sys­tems, Tosca Ltd, and Poly­mer Logis­tics) are all mem­bers of the com­mit­tee and will work to deter­mine best prac­tices, and then agree to fol­low them in order to increase food safety.

In addi­tion to the three providers, ORYX Automa­tion and Label and Bar­code, Inc. are on the com­mit­tee. More com­pa­nies are expected to join as the work gets under way. “We will incor­po­rate input from retail­ers, grow­ers, and ship­pers so that the out­come reflects the needs of all the play­ers in the sup­ply chain,” empha­sized Pederson.

“This com­mit­tee is a great exam­ple of the value of the RPA,” said Robert Engle, Chair­man of the RPA Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee. “Only the RPA can bring together a cross sec­tion of the sup­ply chain – and com­peti­tors – to develop stronger stan­dards that will ben­e­fit the entire indus­try. The RPA and its mem­bers are com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing a safe and cost effec­tive means for mov­ing food from point of ori­gin to the end user.”

About the RPA

The Reusable Pack­ag­ing Asso­ci­a­tion is a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort between man­u­fac­tur­ers, pool­ers, dis­trib­u­tors, retail­ers and edu­ca­tors to pro­mote the envi­ron­men­tal, safety, and eco­nomic ben­e­fits of reusable pack­ag­ing. The RPA serves as the col­lec­tive voice of the indus­try and uses its knowl­edge of the mem­bers’ prod­ucts and ser­vices to advance the adop­tion of reusable pack­ag­ing and sys­tems through­out the sup­ply chain. The RPA is focused on pro­mot­ing the expan­sion of reusables as the pre­ferred pack­ag­ing solu­tion across sup­ply chains in all indus­tries. For more infor­ma­tion, visit http://www.reusables.org or call (703) 224‑8284.

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