Wooden vs. plastic crates
A 2008 study at the Faculty of Science and Technology of New University of Lisbon by researchers Fernando Abrantes, Garcia, and Mendes, held at the Food Market in the Region of Lisbon (MARL) concluded that wood is as an hygienic packaging material as plastic, compared to what is popularly believed.
The research assessed the microbial contamination through parallel samples of bacterial flora on the surface of boxes of wood (pine) and boxes of plastic (HDPE and PP) containing the same horticultural produce.
They analyzed the most common micro-organisms in plant products, that may contaminate the container, or those resulting from normal handling and storage, such as Enterococci, Escherichia coli, Clostridium perfringens, Pseudomonas and Bacillus cereus.
Having determined the bacterial concentration at different temperatures, it was concluded that no significant differences between the bacterial load of wood and plastic.
The study concluded that to prevent proliferation of microorganisms is important in reused packaging sanitation, cleaning and disinfection, as well as care in the storage conditions in any type of container.