ORLANDO, Fla. — Some produce industry leaders participating in food safety conferences viewed how one company works to improve the quality of its pallets.

CHEP tour shows pallet testing proceduresA group of participants in the Center for Produce Safety’s research symposium and the Produce Safety Alliance’s good agricultural practices education and training materials conference toured CHEP USA’s Orlando Innovation Center on June 29. The tour was designed to show people what CHEP is doing to test the strength and durability of the pallets, said Tony Mosco, national sales manager of produce.

“We are constantly investing in new technology and ways to improve the supply chain,” he said.

During the tour, participants, including researchers and industry members, saw strength tests to determine the amount of stress the wooden pallets can take before breaking. Most of the tests involved pallets holding cartons of consumer goods.

Matt Thielmann, CHEP Innovation Center manager, said the company’s business model is similar to rental car companies, with customers renting its product for three days.

“Produce is so perishable and it moves so fast,” Thielmann said. “We don’t see as many performance issues on produce like we see with bottled water. That’s one reason we’re involved in produce. if we want to be a supply chain company, we have to do something about it and go and work with our customers.”

Vikki Riess, senior district services manager for Walt Disney Co., said she was interested in hearing how the entertainment company can better track pallets in theme park foodservice distribution systems.

“Most distribution centers support a closed loop of grocery stores,” Riess said. “Ours is a different environment. Our world is pretty fierce. It’s hot, humid and rainy here.”