Reusable shipping crates are being used by most grocery chains for their produce deliveries. Various Universities have warn against the use of these plastic containers due to the transfer of bacteria and pathogens that can breed and spread in the crates during shipping.
Yesterday however the Reusable Packaging Association released a protocol based on science for going forward with using the plastic shipping crates and also outlines protocols for testing the safety of the crates to maintain their safety. They have even come up with adhesive labels that don’t leave behind any residue that can grab ahold of bacteria and transfer it to different products.
Once these plastic crates get back to their original starting point they are washed, rinsed, and dried. Then they will be ready for their next trip. The crates are then stored in a warehouse until they are needed again.
It is still somewhat troubling that they are just kept in a warehouse until they are needed again, and there is no way to trust that they have been cleaned and dried properly. There is also some worry about the grocery stores reusing them for multiple items which could result in cross contamination before they are even sent back to be cleaned.
The one take away from this is make sure you always wash your fruits and vegetables before consuming them. They even make a special fruit and veggie wash if it interests you.