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An open letter from the Reusable Packaging Association

Jerry Welcome, president of the Reusable Packaging Association, has written an open letter to address some criticisms his organization has received recently. Below is an excerpt from his letter:

Providing a safe food supply chain is a top concern for the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) and our members. In fact, there has never been a documented food safety issue associated with the use of reusable plastic containers (RPCs) in Canada or the U.S.


Here are the facts: RPCs have been used to ship food products such as milk, eggs, and produce in the U.S. and Europe for more than 20 years without a single documented incidence of food contamination attributable to their use.


The guidelines being developed by the RPC Food Safety Standards Committee will strengthen the safety of reusable containers even more. When they are published later this year, we will encourage all manufacturers, service providers, users, and retailers to adopt and adhere to them. When fully vetted, the guidelines will become the best practices for reusables in the food supply chain.


The use of returnable shipping containers is increasing in the food industry. This growth is occurring because reusables offer multiple documented benefits over expendable packaging including cost reductions, less waste, better product protection, better transportation utilization, easier to handle containers, and a more environmental friendly and sustainable business for all users in the supply chain.


These benefits are challenging expendable products in the marketplace. The suppliers of those products are now turning to scare tactics and questionable studies to stem the incursion of reusables into an area where they have been the dominant supplier.


We need to separate real issues from perceived ones. We need to identify real threats to the safety of our food supply system and stay focused on dealing with these issues in a collaborative and rational manner. The RPA and its members remain committed to working with users and retailers to identify potential issues and resolve them together.

Read the full letter here.