Food safety is quite important when it is being transported from one place to another. In addition, when perishable food items are transported it becomes even more important to ensure that the right temperature control system is implemented to help protect the food products from deteriorating.
Thus, before transporting your perishable food items you will have to determine which temperature is to be maintained and for how long. It will also be necessary to make sure that the temperature control is followed throughout the entire transportation chain from source to destination.
By keeping these aspects in mind you will be able to secure your food products and prevent contamination or spoilage during transportation.
In the following sections let us look at why climate control is important at the time of food transportation, value of humidity control, which requirements need to be followed for food transportation and by asset-based transportation, in which situations it is not necessary to follow these requirements, and how to select the right service provider who will be able to ensure your food items are transported in a safe and secure manner.
Why is climate control important during food transportation?
Many food products start deteriorating with time because of molecular breakdown that occurs. Additionally, insects and pests usually infest on food items and this results in spoilage. However, most of the problem is caused by microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria.
The multiplication inside food items result in the production of toxic chemicals and substances that make food very unsafe for consumption.
Research shows that when suitable conditions exist, a bacterium is able to multiply every twenty minutes.
Favorable conditions consist when temperatures range between forty-one to one hundred and thirty-five degrees Fahrenheit. When food items are kept in this temperature range, it becomes an ideal breeding ground for different types of pathogens.
A few of the vulnerable food items that require special attention are cut vegetables and fruits, milk, eggs, dairy products, and meat. Meat is specifically more vulnerable to deterioration and requires good amount of climate control.
The good thing about climate control is that when food is refrigerated at forty degrees Fahrenheit or lower temperatures, it makes perishable food items microbiologically stable. Thus, refrigeration temperature plays an important role in upholding food quality.
When temperatures increase so does the likelihood of water loss occurring in some types of food items, which in turn reduces their quality. Similarly, in produced items higher temperature results in a greater respiration rate, causing the depletion of stored carbohydrates that expedite the process of rotting.
In addition to asset-based transportation carriers, temperature freight broker agencies should also examine whether it would be necessary to carry out pre cooling prior to refrigerated transportation. This step become specifically important when perishable items such as freshly harvested food products are being transported.
Another important aspect of climate control during transportation involves humidity control, since arid conditions result in water loss and the food will become more vulnerable to issues such as decay and mold growth.
If a climate control system is not present in a container for regulating humidity levels then it becomes necessary for the food producer to utilize special packaging for maintaining the integrity of food.
Likewise, humidity control is quite important for marine vessels and helps in the creation of proper ventilation so that the buildup of CO2 can be prevented. A buildup of CO2 takes place when food respires within closed containers.
According to regulations, freight forwarding companies or freight broker, dry van freight carriers, shippers, and loaders need to follow certain requirements with respect to food transportation. Let us look at what they are:
- It is necessary to train workers about safe practices related to food transportation.
- Transportation vehicles and equipments used need to be specifically designed so that they are safe for food transportation, can be easily maintained, as well as have the capability to maintain safe temperatures so that food can be carried without any problems.
- Carriers need to take specific steps to make sure food remains safe, for instance, they need to ensure that raw meat does not come in contact with ready to eat food items. In addition, they also need to closely monitor temperature.
- It is also necessary to keep records of written procedures with respect to temperature monitoring and training provided to employees for the same.
- If food items are to be stored in any on-site location then loaders need to ensure that appropriate temperature controls and sanitation standards are maintained.
A few situations where food transportation regulations are not be followed include:
- Any type of food by-products (human) that are transported to be used in the form of animal food.
- Food products that do not need any kind of temperature control when those food products are transported in fully enclosed containers.
However, entities that do not have to follow regulations should still take necessary precautions to make sure sanitation and temperature standards are maintained so that the risk of contamination can be reduced.
Why do food safety issues arise?
Oftentimes, safety issues arise due to problems in temperature control while food items are being transported. In case any particular container does not have mechanical refrigeration in place, then the use of temporary climate control will achieve desired results.
Such temporary systems will help in adjusting ventilation, humidity levels, and temperature as per the requirement. Moreover, these systems work proactively to maximizing the shelf life of food products and at the same time help in lowering financial losses that you may have to bear.
Using the Right Service Provider
It is necessary to follow strict regulations when transporting temperature sensitive and fresh food items. By selecting the right asset-based transportation company, you will have the assurance that a continuous cold chain will be maintained by the shipper during transportation.
The right provider will have a required temperature control system in place and the carrier will also be ATP tested to ensure the highest level of protection for your food products.