CHEP Commends Passage of FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010

CHEP has weighed in with its endorsement of the U.S. Senate for the passage of S. 510, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 . The bill will now be sent to the U.S. House for review and approval, before being signed into law.

“The legislation that passed out of the Senate yesterday will help strengthen oversight of food safety and maintain public confidence in our food supply,” said Jim Ritchie, Group President, CHEP Americas. “The food industry and the consuming public will benefit from this important legislation, and CHEP applauds its passage.”

To be clear, the legislation isn’t about pallets, but through various news accounts, pallet construction material, whether wood or plastic, has been misleadingly implicated in the issue of food safety in general, and this legislation in particular.

The Food Safety Act of 2010, co-authored by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), and supported by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Chris Dodd (D-CT), and Richard Burr (R-NC) passed by a vote of 73 to 25. The bill increases the accountability of food facility owners and operators for a wide range of food safety measures, and expands FDA oversight authority and enforcement resources.

Throughout its history, CHEP has led efforts to raise standards of quality, cleanliness and environmental performance throughout the pallet industry, and works closely with the food industry to ensure the safe use of pallets in food transportation. “We are extremely proud of our track record over the past 20 years of developing and communicating about safe handling processes,” said Ritchie.

“The Food Safety Act of 2010 – which received broad support throughout the food industry and among food trade associations such as the Grocery Manufacturers of America – represents an important step forward for food safety,” said Ritchie. “Due to our long-term investments in pallet safety and product stewardship, we are especially well positioned and aligned with the food industry as this legislation is implemented.”


  1. Do you think this will lead to a Heat treatment requirement to ship state to state? How would this affect CHEP considering that their pallets are heat treated intermittently?

  2. Rick LeBlanc says:

    Hi Cody.

    This food safety legislation isn’t about pallets, and it isn’t about forest protection, so this bill will not lead to a domestic state to state HT requirement. For the purpose of plant protection, however, it seems likely that a domestic HT requirement will be on the horizon. I’ll have better information after the WPA Annual Meeting in January. Usually this topic is discussed.

    How does your company feel about the challenge of a domestic HT requirement?

  3. Rick,

    I smell iGPS, especially when I see Senator Durbin (IL) mentioned. I feel this may be the first step in the FDA coming in and monitoring pallet manufacturing and shipping conditions. With the smear campaign that occurred this summer (Johnson&Johnson) I think iGPS may have initiated a defensive position wooden pallet manufacturers, and simultaneously put themselves under scrutiny.

    “Any real application to pallet and packaging will likely come at the executive level as the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) seeks to implement new policies. “- Pallet Enterprise.

    A viable defense in response to iGPS’ tactic of cleaning each pallet that they receive back could quite possibly be a domestic HT requirement.

    I welcome any changes that might guarantee the safety of the end user and see the merit in HT for state to state transport. These battles may have stirred up a very real issue for pallets carrying food related items, plastic, and wood.

  4. Rick,

    I was speaking my mind as the title encouraged me to. These are my opinions, but after reading the following articles I wondered what might be on the horizon…

    It started here:

    Went on to here:

    and most recently appeared here:

    My feeling is that this might be a stepping stone to more invasive FDA standards. As far as making some calls, I appreciate it but these are just my opinions based on what I have read.

    Thank you for your time and allowing me to just speak my mind (even though it might just be conspiracy theories).

  5. Rick LeBlanc says:

    Hi Cody.

    iGPS has presented flawed research and tried to convince regulators, supply chain professionals and the public at large that wood pallets present a health risk. The wood pallet industry should rightfully be concerned about this misrepresentation of their products, and the supply chain industry as well as ultimately the public should be concerned about misinformation that would cause increased costs in many applications.

    It is important to challenge sensational misinformation, which is picked up with little or no scrutiny by blogs such as one site you link to above.

    With respect to heat treatment and its potential role in sanitation, that deserves additional comment, forthcoming.

  6. I feel that chep and wood pallets are way better then IGPS pallets because wood pallets are able to stand with strenght for lond periods of time in the sun or in warehouses as for IGPS pallets are plastic and can not stand heavy product while sitting in the sun for long periods at a time. If I had my way I would choose wood all the way, It is sturdy and can last for a lot longer. “Just my opinion from expierence from working in a warehouse setting for years.” Thanks for letting me share what is on my mind..

  7. Rick LeBlanc says:

    Hi John, thanks for posting. Wood is a stiffer material, and plastic pallet designers have had to put considerable effort into designing plastic pallets that are rackable to 2800 pounds, for example. This has been accomplished, albeit at a higher price point than wood. Having said that, I know of many warehousemen who really like plastic pallets. Would anyone like to add a comment?

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