iGPS Company has called on the US Food & Drug Administration to launch an investigation of wood pallets and the risks they may pose to the nation’s food supply.
“Wood pallets may present a serious risk to America’s food supply. The over one billion wood pallets in circulation in the United States are a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and carry other undesirable substances that can cross-contaminate food,” said Bob Moore, chairman and chief executive officer, iGPS. “Wood is inherently porous and can easily absorb bacteria and fluids, creating a risk for food products where Listeria, E coli, and salmonella are a concern.
“What’s worse is that wood pallets made with “engineered wood” components contain urea formaldehyde—a known carcinogen—which may come into contact with food under a variety of scenarios when it is stored and shipped on wooden pallets,” he said. “Formaldehyde is also released into the air when it off-gases from pallets in storage and transportation compartments, posing a risk to the health of workers and consumers.”
Wood pallets pose other dangerous risks to food safety, as outlined by Moore in a letter to the FDA’s Dr Stephen F Sundlof, director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition; and Michael R Taylor, senior advisor to the Commissioner. Wood pallets are susceptible to insect infestation and require heat treatment or fumigation before they can be moved cross-border. Fumigation is often performed with methyl bromide, a toxic, ozone-depleting chemical. Rusty nails that can penetrate food packaging are also a risk.
Orlando FL-based iGPS can be accessed at www.igps.net.