Globally, billions of reusable packaging products, such as bins, containers, trays, and RPCs are used each year to transport fresh and nutritious foods safely from farm to table, and there has never been an identified or detected risk to food safety as a result of their use. Before and after each commercial use, every RPC is inspected, repaired if necessary, and expertly washed, rinsed, sanitized, and dried in accordance with science-based industry best practices and international food safety standards that are proven to clean the container for safe use again. This ensures suppliers receive fresh, clean, ready-to-pack crates with every order.
The Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) and its member companies who supply and use reusable packaging products take matters pertaining to food safety very seriously. The reusable packaging industry does not address matters of food safety for competitive purposes; rather, the RPA works to educate the industry on best practices to ensure that the longstanding history of safe use of reusable packaging is not only maintained but strengthened. 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.
In 2015, much of the RPA work on RPC food safety culminated into the publishing of a document – “RPA Guidelines & Best Practices for Safe Use of Returnable Containers in Food Supply Chains” – to advance the industry’s awareness and compliance to the highest standards for the cleaning, sanitation and proper handling of reusable packaging.