Food Safety Resources
Reusable containers for the harvesting, processing and transport of food have been used for generations around the world. Billions of reusable packaging products such as bins, containers and trays are used each year in North America alone to transport fresh and nutritious foods safely from farms to consumers, and there has never been an identified or detected risk to food safety as a result of their use.
Even with history and current practices validating safe use, suppliers of reusable packaging for fresh foods work continuously to strengthen measures and deploy advanced systems to ensure the sanitation of their products prior to reuse. Commercial reusable plastic containers (RPCs), for example, are washed and sanitized following methods that are proven to clean the container for safe use again.
The Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) and its member companies who supply and use reusable packaging products take matters pertaining to food safety very seriously. Since its inception in 1999, RPA members have collaborated on the development and distribution of news and information supporting the safe use of reusable packaging products in food applications. The reusable packaging industry does not address matters of food safety for competitive purposes; rather, RPA works to educate the industry on best practices to ensure the longstanding history of safe use of reusable packaging is not only maintained but strengthened.
In 2015, much of RPA's work on food safety culminated into the publishing of a document - "RPA Guidelines & Best Practices for Safe Use of Returnable Containers in Food Supply Chain" - to advance the industry's awareness and compliance to the highest standards for the cleaning, sanitation and proper handling of reusable packaging. This document and an FAQ background on its development are below, along with links to other publications and articles on the food safety topic.
Links to Publications:
- RPA Statement on the Reported Risk of Spreading ToBRFV through RPC Use, Download Statement Here, March 20, 2019
- RPA Responds to Claims by the Corrugated Industry, Download Statement Here, October 13, 2016
- Food Quality and Safety Magazine: "Guidelines for Safe Use of Reusable Containers in Supply Chains," March 18, 2016
- Food Safety News: "Science, History, and Real-World Use Support Safety of Reusable Packaging," October 30, 2015
- RPA Statement: "In Response to Univeristy of Arkansas Center for Food Safety Study on RPCs and Food Safety," March 3, 2015
- RPA Open Letter: "RPA Maintains RPCs Safe for Use in Food Supply Chains," October 28, 2014
- RPA Member IFCO Systems Issues "Report on RPC and Corrugated Container Microbial Activity Testing, "October 28, 2014
- RPA Statement: "University of Guelph Study Finds 'No Evidence of Food Safety Issue' with Reusable Plastic Containers," October 15, 2013