Promote Hygienic Transport of Edibles with Plastic Pallets
17 Nov 2015
The maintenance of hygiene in the transportation system is a crucial factor for the food industry. It is easy for microscopic elements of bacteria and other organisms to travel between countries and transfer to the end customer. In order to reduce the risk of contamination, the food sector is turning more to the use of plastic pallets rather than wooden ones. These provide a number of benefits to the industry, including the ability to easily and effectively clean the pallets.
Issues Surrounding Food Transportation
Food poisoning is still a problem within the industry. Some cases can be attributed to the end customer, but in other instances there is a contamination risk during the manufacturing or transportation process. Up to 5.5 million people across the UK suffer from food poisoning each year, so it’s vital that manufacturers and suppliers tackle this issue successfully.
The problem with micro-organisms is that they cannot be seen by the naked eye and can get into the food chain at any point in the system. This means that it’s essential for food manufacturers and suppliers to use the most appropriate pallets when storing and transporting food. Wooden pallets have been found to harbour harmful pathogens which can contaminate food. Therefore, more businesses are moving to plastic pallets, which have higher hygiene standards.
The Hygienic Benefits of Plastic
Plastic provides a range of benefits, including being lightweight, easy to handle, durable, strong, reusable and recyclable. However, one of the most important elements for the food sector is that these pallets are safe and hygienic enough to be used when handling produce.
A plastic pallet is resistant to pest contamination. This prevents insects from penetrating into the pallet and then getting into the fruit, vegetables and other food produce. They also won’t absorb any harmful bacteria or pathogens, including Listeria, E.coli and Salmonella, which are dangerous to humans.
Wooden pallets require heat treatment before use, which can make them more susceptible to certain toxins and mould, whereas plastic ones don’t. Another issue with wood pallets is that they can have nails, screws or splinters that can be dangerous for those handling the pallets, as well as cause issues for the produce they contain. These elements can easily damage the stock, puncture packaging or contaminate the items, resulting in wastage and loss of income.
When a plastic pallet has been used, it can be hygienically cleaned in order for it to be reused. This reduces the need to purchase new pallets, keeping costs lower and offering a more convenient system. Plastic pallets can be fitted with RFID devices, which make shipments easily identifiable. This enables suppliers to track packages, as well as remove any contaminated items quickly out of the supply chain.
The benefits of plastic make it an ideal material for the pallets that are used within the food industry. The reduction in contamination issues improves trust within the industry, maintains an efficient supply and limits any financial loss.