Aug 1, 2008 12:00 PM
Question: Are there things a truck driver can be doing to assure that his load is not compromised?
Answer: Technology continues to bring new products to the industry for consideration. Embedded tracking modules in the trailers are helpful.
As carriers seek to reduce overhead, exclusions in insurance policies increase the responsibility of the driver to be vigilant while the load is in his possession to maintain coverage if the load is stolen or compromised.
Question: Isn't a starting point for improved food safety protection the use of preventive methods, such as good sanitation, proper manufacturing practices, food safety programs, and so forth?
Answer: Large chain buyers, such as McDonald's, Wal-Mart, and Walt Disney, are requiring this from their vendors. The companies we purchase food from will be the ones who set the bar for consumer's food safety.
Question: What is the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system, and how does it impact food transporters, shippers, and receivers?
Answer: HACCP in the US is mainly for the seafood and juice industries, and is further fueled by the growing trend in international trade for worldwide equivalence of food products and the Codex Alimentarius Commission's adoption of HACCP as the international standard for food safety.
(The Codex Alimentarius Commission was created in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Commission of the United Nations and the World Health Organization to develop food standards, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to foods, food production, and food safety.)
Among other things, HACCP:
Focuses on identifying and preventing hazards from contaminating food.
Permits more government oversight, primarily because the record-keeping allows investigators to see how well a firm is complying with food safety laws over a period, rather than how well it is doing on any given day.
Places responsibility for ensuring food safety appropriately on the food manufacturer or distributor.
Helps food companies compete more effectively in the world market.
Reduces barriers to international trade.
Question: After processing, isn't the biggest challenge with refrigerated and frozen products keeping the proper temperatures and keeping the “cold chain” from breaking?
Answer: Years ago, it used to be. The refrigeration units on trailers have become so sophisticated that they can hold and maintain just about any temperature. Most cold storage facilities also maintain proper temperatures for various food products.
However, it is extremely important that the driver check the temperature of the product he is picking up. On the bills of lading, there will be a temperature, and when the driver signs them, he is agreeing with that temperature notated on the bills. This is where problems occur. The shipper's loaded temperature is not always accurate.
Question: Obviously, food products need to be carefully monitored to prevent exposure. How will advances in technology improve such monitoring?
Answer: Technology continues to drive information. Some trailers have sensors throughout the trailer which monitor the inside of the trailer.
Refrigeration units can now be changed by satellite as they move down the road. Whereas years ago we put a “brick size yellow box” in the trailer called a Ryan, which was a battery-powered device that recorded temperature. Temperature recorders are now about the size of an iPhone and are built into the refrigeration unit or are put in the trailer by the shipper and then plugged into a scanner upon arrival.
Question: Looking ahead, what developments do you foresee for assuring load integrity of food products?
Answer: In the future, we will see more regulation of produce. It is the last thing in the stores that consumers still can pick up, touch, smell, and then put back down on the shelf.
We will see more packaged produce, even including individually wrapped potatoes, to maintain integrity and give confidence to the consumer.
The FDA recently approved a system called Sterilox. It is a sanitizer that is added to the sprayers that go off periodically over produce. The solution has proven successful in killing a variety of surface bacteria, including e-coli and salmonella.
It appears that the recent outbreak of salmonella in tomatoes was a result of internal contamination.
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
Acceptable Use Policy blog comments powered by Disqus