Grocery stores, distribution centers and manufacturing plants all use pallets to handle food and beverages. To ensure moving products between locations is fast and easy, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has established a set of standardized guidelines for all food industry pallets.
These guidelines contain detailed dimensions and specifications, as well as quality classification parameters. Here’s a quick overview of each.
What Are the GMA’s Pallet Specifications?
Pallets manufactured to GMA specifications are typically referred to as GMA pallets. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) recognizes GMA pallets as one of six standard pallet types. These pallets feature:
- An overall footprint of 40” by 48”
- A minimum load-bearing capacity of 2,500 pounds
- Four-way forklift entry with two notches on the side
- Top and bottom deck boards that are 5/8″ thick
- A 5 1/2″ x 40″ board on each end of the pallet top, and five 3 1/2″ x 40″ boards in the center
- A 5 1/2″ x 40″ board on each end of the pallet bottom, and three 3 1/2″ x 40″ boards between the notches
GMA pallets account for an estimated 30% of the pallet marketplace. In a fast-moving industry with complex global supply chains, the ability to get products where they need to go as quickly and cost-effectively as possible is critical. Choosing GMA pallets helps all stakeholders meet their performance benchmarks by reducing the time and expense associated with shipment and storage.
What Are GMA Pallet Grades?
The GMA classifies recycled pallets into two grades: A and B. However, some manufacturers use the nomenclature #1 and #2, and others further subdivide individual pallet grades. Here’s a brief look at what these numbers and letters entail:
- Grade A pallets: Grade A encompasses the highest quality recycled pallets. These are products that are in excellent condition, with no stringer repairs and only minor discoloration. Grade A pallets are suitable for display purposes in groceries stores or markets. Many recyclers use subdivisions within the category to distinguish between pallets with a cleaner appearance, typically composed of hardwood (Premium A, Grade 1A or Food Grade) and those that are more worn, and often made from pine (A Grade, Grade 1B or 1C, or Melon Grade).
- Grade B pallets: Grade B pallets show evidence of more extensive use than Grade A pallets. They may be worn and discolored, or have previous stringer repairs. Warehousing and shipping applications use Grade B pallets as an alternative to more expensive products. Often, recyclers will further classify Grade B pallets according to the number of repair patches per forklift cavity. Pallets with one repair per cavity may be classified as Premium B or #2 High Grade, whereas pallets with two or more will be labeled Standard B or #2 Regular grade.
Additionally, many manufacturers and recyclers offer specialty grade food pallets which may not meet GMA specifications. The best way to shop with confidence is to determine your requirements in advance and work with a knowledgeable supplier who can help you make an informed choice.
Polymer Solutions International, Inc. manufactures a range of different products that are easy to clean and built for long-term productivity. Keep browsing our website to explore your options or start a Live Chat session with us online or call us directly at 610-325-7500 for assistance.