Test shows no bacteria or viruses survive IFCO RPC sanitation process

November 14, 2019

The latest food safety testing conducted on IFCO Reusable Plastic Containers has confirmed damaging pathogens — viruses and bacteria — are removed or deactivated by IFCO’s cleaning, wash and sanitation process. Testing was conducted by a certified independent laboratory.ifco

“The research and results from IFCO's ongoing testing should provide peace of mind to growers and retailers, who can continue to use IFCO RPCs knowing that our containers remain safe, efficient and a sustainable packaging for tomatoes and other fresh food items,” said Dan Martin, president of IFCO North America. “Food safety is our top priority because nothing else we do is possible without it.”

IFCO’s state-of-the art RPC cleaning, wash and sanitation process is proven to remove contaminants and remove/inactivate both human and plant pathogens (viruses and bacteria), and their cleanliness is constantly verified by our ongoing in-house testing.

After discovery of the Tobamovirus — Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus — IFCO performed additional challenge studies to reassure its customers. An independent, certified laboratory, Eurofins BioDiagnostics, performed the challenge study to validate IFCO’s washing and sanitation process was effective against this new plant virus. The results from the independent testing showed the wash systems employed by IFCO effectively remove and/or inactivate the ToBRFV.

More than 1 billion IFCO RPCs are used each year to safely transport fresh food from farms and processing facilities to retail locations, and RPCs have never been cited as the cause of a foodborne incident.

IFCO continuously monitors the wash and sanitizing process through it’s SmartGuardian software. SmartGuardian monitors and records critical sanitation parameters, including water pressure, water temperature, sanitizer and detergent concentration.

As part of its safety protocol, SmartGuardian issues alerts if parameters fall below or rise above warning levels and will shut down processing, if necessary, until the system is running properly again.

Under its culture of continuous improvement, IFCO consistently seeks ways to bolster its food-safety systems. For instance, the company is constantly performing verification testing of IFCO RPCs including surveillance testing for Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus in multiple markets to ensure the RPC sanitation process is working effectively.

“IFCO has a strong commitment to food safety, and we are confident about the effectiveness of our sanitation process. That is why we are open and transparent about our protocols, testing methods and results,” concluded Martin.

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