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Wood better antibacterial choice than plastic

The European Federation of Wooden Pallet & Packaging Manufacturers (FEFPEB) has highlighted details of the latest research to show that wooden pallets are the best choice for the transportation of food products. The study, carried out by Institut für Holztechnologie in Dresden on behalf of EPAL Germany between February 2018 and December 2019, compared the microbial properties of standard EPAL Euro pallets and H1 plastic pallets. It found that bacteria had a lower survival rate on the wooden surface compared with plastic and that wooden pallets are suitable for use in hygiene-sensitive areas, including food processing and transport. The results also showed clearly that the rough sections caused by wear on the surface of plastic pallets provide ideal conditions for the growth of bacteria. Wood, meanwhile, has natural antibacterial properties that prevent microorganisms from spreading. According to the study, wooden pallets have an antibacterial activity that is more than thirteen times higher than that of the H1 plastics.

The pallets were tested according to certified methods, had all been used at least once and were not cleaned before testing. The findings of the study build on previous research, including the 2016 report by Aviat et al, which reviewed 86 publications to ascertain whether contact between wood and food is safe. This concluded that wood is suitable because its often -rough surface and porous structure often creates conditions that are unfavourable to microorganisms. ‘These results are the latest confirmation that wooden pallets and packaging are the right choice for food and other hygiene-sensitive supply chains – in addition to them being the most sustainable and economic option,’ said Ceelaert. ‘Despite the fact that wood has long been used safely alongside food in hygiene-sensitive environments and has been supported by the outcomes of previous research, our credentials have been challenged by certain other industries. The study provides further clear evidence that wood is not just a suitable choice for these uses, it is the first choice.’

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