IFCO RPC Sanitation Process Confirmed to Remove or Deactivate Damaging Pathogens
- by Lilian Diep
TAMPA, FL - A struggle not often spoken of in our industry’s quest to be sustainable is the possible apprehensions of "reusing." While ecologically sound, sanitation and food safety are always top of mind, and how clean can you really get something? According to the latest news from the IFCO team, very.
“The research and results from IFCO‘s ongoing testing should provide peace of mind to growers and retailers, who can continue to use IFCO RPCs knowing that our containers remain safe, efficient, and sustainable packaging for tomatoes and other fresh food items,” said Dan Martin, President of IFCO North America. “Food safety is our top priority because nothing else we do is possible without it.”
The company hosted an independent laboratory, which tested and certified that its cleaning, wash, and sanitation process removes or deactivates damaging pathogens like viruses and bacteria from its Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs).
“IFCO has a strong commitment to food safety, and we are confident about the effectiveness of our sanitation process. That is why we are open and transparent about our protocols, testing methods, and results,” Martin stated.
Proven to remove contaminants and either remove or inactivate both human and plant pathogens (viruses and bacteria), IFCO’s state-of-the art RPC cleaning, wash, and sanitation process is constantly verified by ongoing in-house testing. According to a press release, the company performed additional challenge studies to reassure its customers after the discovery of the Tobamovirus - Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV).
Eurofins BioDiagnostics, an independent, certified laboratory, came in to validate IFCO’s washing and sanitation process’ effectiveness against ToBRFV, with results showing the wash systems employed by IFCO effectively remove and/or inactivate the virus.
IFCO said that it continuously monitors the wash and sanitizing process through it’s SmartGuardian™ software, which monitors and records critical sanitation parameters. The system issues alerts if parameters fall below or rise above warning levels and, if necessary, will shut down processing until the system is running properly again.
Parameters this evaluates include:
- Water pressure
- Water temperature
- Sanitizer concentration
- Detergent concentration
As a culture driven by continuous improvement, the company consistently looks to bolster its food safety systems, such as performing verification testing of IFCO RPCs, including surveillance testing for ToBRFV in multiple markets to ensure the RPC sanitation process is working effectively.
IFCO reports that more than one billion RPCs are used each year to safely transport fresh food from farms and processing facilities to retail locations. Throughout that network, the company said that RPCs have never been cited as the cause of a foodborne incident. As it and other partners in the produce industry continue to strive to strengthen the supply chain, AndNowUKnow will report the latest.