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iGPS, an Orlando-based provider of all-plastic freight pallets, is raising questions about the safety of wood pallets for use in transporting food products. The company called on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to launch a comprehensive investigation of wood pallets and the risks they may pose to the nation's food supply.
"The over one billion wood pallets in circulation in the U.S. are a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and carry other undesirable substances that can cross-contaminate food," says Bob Moore, chairman and CEO of iGPS. Moore also cites the use of urea formaldehyde - a known carcinogen - in the production of pallets made with "engineered wood." And he says 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 highly toxic, ozone-depleting chemical.
"We call upon the FDA to launch a full investigation into the use of wood pallets in connection with the storage and shipment of our country's food. The health and safety of the American public dictates nothing less," said Moore in a letter to two FDA officials.
iGPS rents out 100 percent recyclable plastic pallets with embedded RFID tags. The company says its pallets are 30 percent lighter than wood, and are more hygienic and easier to handle because they eliminate protruding nails and splinters. The embedded RFID tags enable shippers and receivers to track and trace shipments in real time.
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