“UK businesses transporting their goods on kiln dried timber pallets under shrink wrapping to avoid mould and stain contamination issues, should think twice”, says Jim Hardisty, Managing Director of Goplasticpallets.com.
This warning comes following a recent announcement by PalletLink – the UK pallet and packaging advisory association – who reported that many pallet buyers who think that shrink wrapping their products on kiln dried timber pallets is safe, have found to their cost that this is not the case.
Although kiln dried timber pallets have a lower moisture content than standard wooden pallets, according to PalletLink, kiln drying timber to the 17 to 19 per cent level is only safe if the pallet loaded with goods is stored in freely moving air. Goods assembled on the pallet deck and then tightly stretch or shrink wrapped risk developing bluestain and mould.*
Jim continues: “Timber pallets that hold more than 16 per cent moisture content are not suitable for shrink-wrapped goods as rising temperatures create a greenhouse effect, which can sweat the pallets and cause rapid mould growth within the enclosed package. In the food and pharmaceutical industries this could be particularly catastrophic. It was only last year that Johnson & Johnson and a number of other drugs manufacturers were forced to recall huge volumes of medicinal goods as a result of contamination caused by fungal growth on wooden pallets.
“The simplest way to avoid bluestain and mould is to use plastic pallets. Not only are they 100 per cent water resistant; whether you opt for an open or closed deck, all plastic pallets can be washed manually or steam cleaned, so optimum hygiene is guaranteed.”
*Reference: Pallet & Case Industry, July, Mould and stain issues under shrink wrapping.