Food transportation is a vital process in food manufacturing and supply. It keeps the food industry running by moving food from producers to consumers. However, this process is not exempt from the risk of contamination. That’s why it’s important to know the best practices for food transportation.
In this article, we will discuss the significance of food transportation and six important tips to ensure a safer quality food transportation experience.
What is Food Transportation?
Food transportation is the act of transporting food from the food producer to its desired destinations. This process plays an important role in maintaining food safety in the food manufacturing business.
Transporting food involves different modes of transportation. These include road, water, air, and rail. But among these methods, trucking is the most common method, making up the majority (70.5%) of food transportation in the United States.
Importance of Food Transportation
Raw materials and finished products have varying life expectations depending on the items to be delivered. Therefore, keeping food fresh and safe will ensure top quality, which is crucial for food safety and quality standards.
Failure to keep the goods safe will lead to business hindrances like the disruption of operations, legal issues, and customer complaints. Fortunately, you can avert these potential problems by choosing the right food transportation method. At the same time, it also helps food businesses in numerous ways, including:
- Maintaining credibility by meeting food safety and quality standards.
- Following food safety protocols to avoid food contamination.
- Deliver goods to any part of the globe quickly and effectively.
Standards of Food Transportation Safety
To ensure successful food transportation, the producers or food businesses should maintain food quality standards and keep up with the latest food safety practices. At the same time, you should also comply with the food transportation requirements.
The Sanitary Food Transportation Act (2005) requires that the FDA prescribes sanitary transportation practices to prevent food adulteration during transportation. This act explains the necessary practices, conditions, and procedures to prevent food products from contaminating during transportation.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also released the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to prevent intentional adulteration of food. This act establishes the following requirements:
Vehicles and transportation equipment
Make sure all vehicles used to transport food products are clean and in good repair. This includes properly cleaning and maintaining equipment like refrigerated containers, ice chests, and other storage devices.
Sanitary transportation practices must be followed during loading, unloading, and while the food is in transit. These practices include preventing cross-contamination, maintaining proper temperature, and protecting food products from physical, chemical, and biological hazards.
Drivers should be properly trained in food safety practices and be able to communicate with the shipper, carrier, and receiver. They should also have a clear understanding of the route they’re taking and any potential food safety hazards along the way.
Employees assigned to food transportation must learn sanitary transportation practices and be able to implement them properly. Proper documentation of food safety training is also necessary.
It’s also essential to keep records of food transportation activities. This includes the driver’s logs, shipping documents, and receiving records. These records should be kept for at least a year.
By complying with these food transportation requirements, the FDA believes that food businesses can ensure that the food they’re transporting is safe and of high quality. It also guarantees that they maintain their credibility as a food business.
Issues of Food Transportation
Various industries deal with different challenges, and the food industry is no exception. In fact, in 2019, the United States encountered food transportation issues such as handling and contamination, environmental impacts, driver shortage, and compliance with sanitation standards.
However, these challenges also made companies react positively, identifying gaps and striving to improve their food sanitation standards. But despite that, there will always be challenges to face in the food business.
Apart from the ones already mentioned, here are other transportation issues that food companies should be aware of:
Retailer Chargebacks and MABDs (Must Arrive By Dates)
MABDs is a strict date or time that a load must be delivered by, set by the retailer. If the truck arrives even one minute late, the shipper is subject to a fee. This puts a lot of pressure on food companies as they have to ensure that their products arrive on time.
Some companies will choose to ship their products early to avoid these fees. However, this can lead to other problems such as food waste and products not at their peak freshness.
One of the most common factors to consider when transporting food is perishability. This is why refrigerated shipping is often used for food products that must be kept at a certain temperature.
However, some challenges come with this type of transportation. For example, if the power goes out or the equipment fails, it can spoil food. That’s why it’s important to have a backup plan in place in case of an emergency.
Food fraud is a type of crime that’s on the rise in the food industry. It involves the misrepresentation of food products for financial gain. This can be done in several ways, such as selling fake organic food or selling expired food as fresh.
Food fraud is a serious issue because it affects the companies that are involved and can also jeopardize the safety of consumers. That’s why it’s important for food companies to be aware of the signs of food fraud and to have a plan in place to prevent it.
LTL (Less-Than-Truckload) Shipping
LTL shipping is an excellent food transportation option for food manufacturers who don’t have enough freight to fill in a full truck. However, it also involves some potential high risks.
A large mixture of food products loaded together may trigger contamination threats. In addition, this shipping type could also affect MABDs.
The 6 Best Practices of Food Transportation
Food handling, packing, and transporting are crucial parts of food safety. To ensure that your food products are safe and of high quality, here are the six best practices for food transportation:
Keep records of all food transportation activities, including driver’s logs, shipping details, relevant documentation, and receiving records.
Preserve the Product
Preserve the food quality by ensuring that they are stored and sealed in proper containers. Also, ensure that they are stored in the appropriate temperatures and conditions.
Pests can cause contamination and spread diseases, so keeping them out of your food products is important. To do this, you should regularly inspect your facility for pests and implement a pest control plan.
Choose the most appropriate method of transportation for your goods. The one you select should have the capability to secure your food against contamination and spoilage.
Maintain cleanliness in all areas of your food transportation process, from packaging to storage to delivery. This includes regularly cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces, equipment, and vehicles.
Experienced People on the Job
Workers, staff, and food handlers should have undergone proper food safety training. At the same time, they should also be trained in proper hygiene practices.
Use DATAMYTE for Your Food Inspection Needs!
DATAMYTE is the leading provider of products contributing to an overall connected factory. Our range of software applications and tools is designed to help you streamline your workflow and ensure compliance with standards and regulations.
Our Digital Clipboard, in particular, can help you create workflows, checklists, apps, and other relevant tools to ensure that all your food inspection needs are met! For more information, visit our website today!
When it comes to food transportation, following best practices is essential for maintaining food safety and quality. By following these tips, you can ensure that your food products will arrive fresh and free of contaminants. So make sure you follow the tips outlined in this article to ensure that your food transportation efforts will bear good fruit.
DATAMYTE can help you streamline your food inspection process and ensure compliance with all food safety standards. Contact us today to learn more!