The Reusable Packaging Association has formed a committee to develop sanitation standards and guidelines for reusable containers.

Through the industry committee, the Arlington, Va.-based organization seeks to establish stronger and uniform standards for reusables throughout the food supply chain according to a news release.

Group starts RPCs standards effortThe food safety standards committee plans to include membership and input from providers of reusable plastic containers, retailers, and growers and shippers, according to the release.

“The reusables industry already has rigorous cleaning and testing protocols that meet or exceed accepted standards, and these have proven to be highly effective,” Paul Pederson, committee chair and director of food safety and compliance for IFCO Systems in Tampa, Fla., said in the release. “However, we want to establish common and public standards that will further increase confidence in the sanitation and food safety of RPCs.”

The initiative was driven in part by retailers requiring documented guidelines to share with members of their supply chains in their support of reusables, Pederson said in the release.

Today, providers of reusables and cleaning services follow individual sanitation and food safety standards which aren’t publicly available and vary by provider, according to the release.

The three major providers of returnable plastic containers, IFCO, Tosca Ltd., Green Bay, Wis., and Polymer Logistics, Riverside, Calif., are committee members and plan to work to determine best practices and then agree to follow them to increase food safety, according to the release.