Retailers can’t duck food safety issues when pushing growers to re-use crates
By John Mullinder, PPECFood Safety General Corrugated Paperboard Packaging food safety John Mullinder Paper and Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council PPEC
PPEC’s John Mullinder examines food safety and reusable plastic crates.
A third, more extensive testing of plastic crates used to ship fresh produce throughout Canada shows some handling improvements but still found sanitary issues such as high total aerobic and yeast and mold counts, and the presence of E. coli.
Studies demonstrating inconsistent washing practices and biofilms surviving common industry cleaning methods had earlier led food scientists to claim that re-using crates for produce was “a recipe for disaster,” and that the live bacteria observed on them was “like a smoking gun.”
The latest study, coordinated by Dr. Keith Warriner, professor of Food Microbiology at the University of Guelph, was performed at different locations in British Columbia (with Dr. Siyun Wang at UBC), Ontario, and Quebec. Dr. Warriner was also responsible for earlier Canadian studies in 2013 and 2014. His findings have been replicated and supported by similar U.S.-wide studies by the University of California (Davis) and the Centre for Food Safety at the University of Arkansas.
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