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FBA and CPA support recent Canadian Study; Release Statement

The Fibre Box Association (FBA) and the Corrugated Packaging Alliance (CPA) have released a statement in support of a Canadian study that indicates that Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) used to ship fruits and vegetables in Canada pose a risk for contamination.

"We applaud and support the recent study conducted by Canada's University of Guelph," said Fibre Box Association President and Corrugated Packaging Alliance Executive Director, Dennis Colley. "Here in the U.S., corrugated manufacturers remain focused on safely delivering produce from farm to table.  Product protection, the renewability of our raw materials, and our outstanding 91 percent recovery rate, along with other health, environmental, and economic advantages, make corrugated boxes the right choice for food packaging.  Nothing goes together more naturally than new fresh corrugated boxes and produce."

The report, Microbiological Standards for Reusable Plastic Containers within Produce Grower Facilities, was recently published by Ontario Canada's University of Guelph. 

In a press release, Keith Warriner, author of the study and the Food Safety and Quality Assurance Program Director at the University, said, "The main outcome of the study is that the RPCs meant to be delivered in a sanitary condition were not effectively cleaned.  From a food safety perspective this could mean that pathogens such as salmonella, norovirus and cyclospora could be transferred to produce."

Warriner went on to say, "in addition to human pathogens, it is also possible that plant pathogens such as Erwinia, Pseudomonas, Xanthomonas and Ascomycetes could be transferred, thereby resulting in premature spoilage of produce."

In Canada some retailers demand that farmers ship fruit and vegetables, from the farm to the store, using RPCs.  The containers are rented by farmers and then returned to the United Sates for cleaning.

In the study, 64% of all the RPCs tested failed in terms of sanitary standards and 56% of trays had a higher aerobic count than expected on a cleaned surface.

Click here to read the full study.
Click here to read the study press release.


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