Plastic Pallets vs. Wood Pallets in the Food and Beverage Supply Chain

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The Great Debate: Plastic Pallets vs. Wood Pallets

As part of the movement to ensure food safety from the beginning to end stages, plastic pallets have become a viable alternative to wooden pallets. Plastic pallets offer more food and beverage industries the peace of mind that their shipments will arrive ready to consume, without a health incident.

Plastic pallets are a safer and more hygienic way to distribute grocery shipments to the consumer for several reasons:

Easy to Clean and Sanitize

plastic palletsSanitation is easy with plastic pallets because they can be washed between uses to ensure there is no cross-contamination. Plastic pallets also limit the spread of foodborne illness and do not absorb harmful pathogens like Salmonella, E. coli, or Listeria.

Wood pallets are more porous, and often require fumigation or heat treatments to comply with ISPM-15. These treatments can make wooden pallets more susceptible to mold and other toxins. Several 2009 recalls by healthcare companies reported damaged shipments due to the chemicals, like tribromoanisole (TBA) or trichloroanisole (TCA), that were used to treat wooden pallets. Plastic pallets are ISPM-15 exempt and do not require such treatments.

Low Contamination Risk

Wooden pallets typically have 150 nails per pallet. Any loose rusty nails or splinters could puncture or contaminate packaged foods. Back in 2009, reported that switching to plastic pallets because customers would refuse a shipment if their shipment arrived on a wooden pallet with missing pieces or protruding nails.

Plastic pallets are injection molded to produce a solid 1-piece construction pallet; no nails required. A few years ago, PepsicCo’s Gatorade plant switched to plastic pallets and has reported no customer-rejected loads related to pallet quality. The plastic is also impermeable to pests and insects. Your food shipments will be safer and ensure there is little to no risk for your consumers.

Not only are plastic pallets safer for the food and beverage industries, but they are also more eco-friendly and cost-effective compared to their wooden counterparts. By switching to a plastic pallet provider to ensure your shipments arrive in excellent condition.


In January 2020, Cerasis was acquired by GlobalTranz, a leading technology and multimodal 3PL solutions provider. To learn more, please read the press release. If you are a current or prospective Cerasis customer, we invite you to reach out to us to learn how our combined capabilities can deliver new services, solutions and enhanced value to your supply chain. To learn more about GlobalTranz, please visit

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