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US: Reusable plastic containers are difficult to clean

Photo: Nino Barbieri / CC BY 2.5, via Commons

Food Safety News: New research continues to demonstrate that typical cleaning doesn’t actually sanitize the reusable plastic containers (RPCs) used to transport fruits, vegetables, poultry and other foods.

In a study publicized earlier this year, Steven Ricke, director of the University of Arkansas Center for Food Safety, and his team grew Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, and E. coli O157:H7 on RPC surfaces and then subjected them to cleaning and sanitizing practices typical in the industry. They found that bacterial biofilms could still survive on the surface of RPC material.

The new set of studies that Ricke conducted measured the actual number of Salmonella cells remaining on RPC surfaces after cleaning. At the maximum concentrations the Food and Drug Administration allows for sanitizing food contact surfaces, and at levels much higher, the residual number of Salmonella organisms ranged from 2,700 to 5.1 million after sanitization.

Click here to read the article from Food Safety News.