VINELAND, N.J. — A recent letter of warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the potential dangers of plastic pallets was posted on Refrigeratedfrozenfood.com. According to Michael Smith, President and C.O.O. of PALNET, a nationwide supplier of shipping pallets, “Food producers thinking of switching from wooden pallets to plastic for environmental reasons should think again. Plastic pallets can contain the fire retardant deca-bromine. Is that a problem? The FDA thinks so.”
A recent statement issued by the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association says, “An examination of 12,084 Intelligent Global Pooling Systems (iGPS) plastic pallets collected by NWPCA members at locations across the U.S. and awaiting pick-up revealed that 9.7 percent of those plastic pallets do not carry the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) marks.” Smith raises the question should iGPS pallets be allowed to carry the UL and FM marks if their entire pool is not compliant? This is misinformation at its best.
What’s more, the letter written by an FDA consumer safety officer stated, “If pre-cooling solution is recycled and/or there is vertical racking of the dripping pre-cooled pallets, there is the possibility that decabromodiphenyl ether (also called deca-bromine) may become a component of the produce being shipped.” The FDA letter also warned that deca-bromine is “not authorized for this use and in order for it to be used in contact with food under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, it must have pre-market approval.”
What’s the solution?
Smith says, “Select pallets that are environmental from beginning to end. Wooden pallets are a natural choice. They honor the three ‘R’s’ of recycling: Repair, Recycle and Reuse, which is the natural cycle of a wooden pallet.”
Wooden pallets also help companies sustain their bottom lines. “They are usually bought not rented. The cost of a lost, rented plastic pallet can be significant, often resulting in an unexpected bill that can run into thousands – if not millions – on an annual basis,” says Smith.
For more information on PALNET, visit http://www.PALNETUSA.com or call 1-877-PALNET-1.