An independent, certified laboratory has confirmed through its testing that IFCO’s cleaning and sanitation process effectively kills or deactivates damaging pathogens, including the tobamovirus – tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) – on its reusable plastic containers.
“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 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.”
The discovery of ToBRFV prompted IFCO to perform additional challenge studies to reassure its customers. 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.
IFCO continuously monitors the wash and sanitizing process through its 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.
“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,” said Martin.