They're a mostly overlooked yet crucial part of the food chain… Pallets, usually made of wood or plastic, transport almost everything you eat… from the farm… to the shelves of your favorite grocery store.
But now, new sanitary tests are raising troubling questions about whether this vital link in the food chain may be broken. The National Consumers League examined 140 wooden and plastic pallets stored behind grocery stores in Texas and Florida. According to the Consumers League, about 33% of the wooden pallets showed signs of unsanitary conditions, where bacteria could easily grow. 10 percent tested positive for e. coli, which can cause food poisoning… and 2.9 percent had an even nastier bug called Listeria, including a type that is often deadly.It's very serious that you find any amount of listeria because it is a very dangerous bacteria which is associated with a 20 to 30 percent fatality rate and it could easily contaminate the food if the pallets or other surfaces are contaminated. The plastic pallets appeared to be cleaner… The Consumers League says about 20 percent were unsanitary, and just one tested positive for e. coli. The group's executive director, Sally Greenberg, says the findings indicate our food supply could be at risk.
This led the company to issue a nationwide recall of several over the counter drugs. Wooden pallet manufacturers denied being responsible.The Consumers League says their tests are just a start, and now, it's up to the industry and the federal government to do a better job to ensure the safety of our food supply.