Prevent Produce Contamination With Plastic Pallets
Food producers and brands are an important part of the food distribution chain. Keeping your products and customers safe and healthy, while keeping costs down, is fundamental to your mission. I get it, and I want to remind you of a sometimes overlooked aspect of shipping safety: the pallets on which they’re transported.
Failing to pay attention to this simple part of the process can at best make your shipping process a pain and at worst it can really hurt people, either with stray nails or through bacteria growing in moisture.
Here, we’ll go over the two most popular materials to use in pallets, wood and plastic, and discover why plastic pallets are ultimately a better choice.
Now, wood pallets are cheaper, it’s true! But the composition of the wood and the way the pallet is built could end up costing you more in product recall and employee injury. Wood is very porous, which means it can hold a lot of water, or anything else that might be spilled onto it! And damp wood is a breeding ground for mildew, fungus, and bacteria. All sorts of nasties that can get into the produce and make the population sick!
Damp wood can also warp, compromising the integrity of pallet stack. This can cause the stack to lean (shown below) or even topple, injuring anyone in its path, as well as the food products and pallets themselves.
Wood is hard to keep precisely level, which may cause stack instability as well. And traditional wooden pallets are made with sharp nails and screws, another potential hazard to you and your product. The best solution is to switch away from wooden pallets altogether, in favor of some plastic ones.
However, if you decide wooden pallets would be best, One Way Solutions has you covered in that area as well! We offer heat treated pressboard pallets which solve most of the issues brought up here. Since they are produced in one piece, there’s no danger of stray nails damaging you or your product. Since it’s heat treated and covered in resin, the likelihood of dampness and risk of contamination are reduced. These engineered wood pallets even have a nesting design to cut down on stacking issues.
Plastic pallets eliminate the challenges and problems typical with wooden block pallets. Because plastic pallets are non-porous, they won’t harbour contaminants or absorb liquids. The plastic material is also lighter weight and much easier to clean. And, like the presswood, plastic pallets are mass produced to specific dimensional tolerances, so they’re easier to stack well and do not contain nails or screws to put a wrench in your plans.
One Way Solution also offers FDA approved plastic pallets! Plastic pallets also make it easier to comply with the various FDA regulations for cleanliness.
What makes a pallet FDA approved? Well, it has to be made of virgin resin materials, made of new, unrecycled plastic. There’s no guarantee that recycled plastic is clean, and when it comes to your produce, you want to be sure.
Plastic is a lot lighter than wood, and trust me, your staff and your machinery will appreciate the lighter load. In fact, with less weight, your process can become more efficient!
Plastic is also quite durable and resilient. It will handle a lot of pressure and is less likely to break under strain. It can withstand extreme heat and cold as well. So whatever extreme or unusual conditions your produce might have to endure, plastic pallets will stay true to form!
The Blue FDA Plastic Pallets
I personally recommend blue pallets, as shown below, because they’re immediately recognizable as FDA approved pallets. It’s nearly impossible to create that bright blue color out of recycled plastic, so you can be sure it’s 100% virgin resin. Or, if blue cramps your style, One Way Solutions offers a variety of other colors, including black, beige, green, and red, that are all FDA approved! And they don’t contain PBDEs or DecaPBDEs, for extra cleanliness!