'Plastic Pallets Containing DecaBDE are Inappropriate for Use' in Food Contact Scenarios Says U.S. Senator

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was issued today by the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association:

With less than a month left to his 30-year career in the U.S. Senate, Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) took the time to fire off a letter to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg urging the agency to notify "food manufacturers, transporters and retailers inspected by the FDA that plastic pallets containing decaBDE are inappropriate for use in scenarios that may bring decabromine into contact with food."

"I understand that several million of these plastic pallets contain the fire retardant Decabrominated diphenyl ether (decaBDE)," Dodd advised the FDA.  "DecaBDE is known to leach out of plastic, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is concerned about the possible negative health and environmental impact resulting from exposure to the chemical.  The EPA cites studies demonstrating that decaBDE persists in the environment, and exposure may cause cancer and negatively impact brain function."

Dodd recommended the FDA "Develop and disseminate education and training materials for FDA inspectors to enable them to identify plastic pallets that contain decaBDE, recognize scenarios of use that may bring decaBDE into food contact, and be provided clear guidance regarding enforcement and reporting requirements." 

Dodd also advocated "that companies that use or receive product shipped on plastic pallets that contain decaBDE should take steps to eliminate possible contamination of food in hydro-cooling and wet room operations."

In his letter, Senator Dodd referenced "A report soon to be published in Environmental Health Perspectives, the peer-reviewed journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, find that one in ten samples of butter purchased from a Dallas grocery store had PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ether) levels more than 135 times higher than the average of the other nine samples."

"Americans need assurance that the food they buy from their markets is safe to consume," said Dodd in his letter to the FDA.  "This requires accountability throughout the logistical chain -- from farmers, to suppliers, to the shipping of containers that transport food... This is critical because in the past several years, U.S. food manufacturers have begun using plastic pallets for the transport and storage of a variety of foods, including fresh fruit and vegetables."

The entire letter by Senator Dodd to FDA is available to read on the website of the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) at www.palletcentral.com.