Just imagine you’ve made every effort to produce a wholesome and safe food product, evaluated and approved suppliers, offered food safety education and training to employees, made the right investments for the success of your business only for food to be transported in an inefficient and unsafe manner!
What a shame! What an embarrassment! Definitely, you stand to suffer huge losses. Additionally, law enforcers will also be on your case big time.
How much do you know about the railcar or truck carrying your food load?
What measures has the transport company put in place to ensure your food is delivered safely and efficiently?
Granted, the food transport industry has had its share of setbacks. Regulators have been evaluating and monitoring transportation food safety for many years now.
Before looking at some tips to help you transport your food according to standards, let’s first look at some of the challenges affecting food transportation:
· Poor pest control
· Improper packing
· Improper management
· Improper temperature control
· Improper conditions, unloading/loading practices, or equipment
· Lack of employee or driver training
· Poor employee hygiene
· Inadequate preventive maintenance
· Poor construction and design of unit
Use the following strategies to make sure you transport food safely and efficiently:
All tankers need to be permanently dedicated and clearly identified as food grade. As a company, you must come up with requirements and criteria for food grade tankers.
They should include the following:
· Design criteria
· Gasket material that’s food grade
· Sealable and cleanable tankers
· Types of fittings used
Inspect Tankers before Loading
The company must properly train all receiving personnel to inspect tankers before loading. Establish a written procedure to guide them throughout the inspection process.
The two major elements to tanker inspections are:
· Physical inspection
· Documentation review
Documentation review comprises of bills of lading, which contains wash certificate verification, seal numbers, company identification, and driver’s name. Depending on a company, additional information can be included.
Visual inspection goes miles to verify the tanker’s physical condition. It sees to it that proper and effective cleaning was conducted.
Bulk Food Tanker Receipt
This receipt closely resembles the criteria for pre-loading inspections. Record review should include seal numbers, wash certificates, driver identification, bill of lading etc.
Receiving personnel must be trained appropriately on the ins and outs of reviewing documentation as well as properly inspect the truck prior to receipt.
Products such as dairy might have specific temperature requirements. Site personnel must measure and record the temperatures of all products upon arrival to make sure they’ve complied with the established standards.
Other food products such as flour might be received under fumigation. Site employees must have the knowhow of inspecting and properly receiving such items.
One of the most important considerations during the unloading process is tanker security. In the process, some seals might have been removed.
It’s also possible that various entry points may have been opened for ventilation requirements.
You need to control and monitor the area around the tanker to make sure that unauthorized people don’t attempt to enter these points.
Any hatches or domes that might have been opened for purposes of ventilation need to be fitted with appropriate filters of screens to prevent the entry of impurities during the process of unloading.
Inspection Prior to Loading and Unloading
Receiving criteria and procedures need to be established for vehicle inspections.
Truck inspection criteria should include:
· Overall exterior condition
· Relevant seals on the doors
· Presence of defects such as gaps and holes in the vehicle
· All lights inside the truck to be properly protected or covered to reduce possible glass breakage
The security and safety of food during transportation is critical to reduce the concerns for contamination. Consequently, setting up a well-developed transportation program is of utmost importance. Only educated and trained personnel should execute such programs.
Excellent communication between the client, carrier, and supplier is vital to meet all the requirements not only for the goods but also vehicles.
The above are some of the strategies you need to put in place in order to transport your food safely and efficiently.