As the name suggests, food transportation is the process of moving food from one location to another. This might include the use of pallet blocks or other transit materials in order to keep food goods safe and ensure proper hygiene is carried out. There are numerous modes of transportation, including water, rail, road, and air. Despite this, trucking is the most common, as it accounts for roughly 70.5% of all food transportation.
Why Food Transportation is So Important
Food transportation is essential for keeping food quality assured, safe, and fresh. In the absence of this, customer complaints, lawsuits, and business disruptions can occur. In addition to this, selecting the right method of food transportation can enable companies to deliver food to any part of the world, ensure safety standards are adhered to, and help an establishment maintain its credibility.
Food Safety Transportation Standards
In order to prevent food contamination, food transportation needs to be carried out in a timely fashion. For instance, foods such as meat, fruit, and vegetables are all perishable, meaning that they must be distributed before they reach their expiry date.
There are a number of food transportation requirements that need to be adhered to regarding records, training, transportation operations, and the vehicles themselves. For instance, it’s essential that records are kept so that there is complete traceability of the food. What’s more, all employees in the food transportation industry should learn the proper sanitary practices. This is in addition to the precautionary measures that need to be implemented, including the prevention of cross-contact with food allergens, avoiding non-food items being transported with food items, avoiding raw foods touching ready-to-consume foods, and adequate temperature controls. Lastly, all vehicles that are used to transport food must be properly designed to guarantee safety. These include temperature sensors and measures to prevent delays from occurring.
Food Transportation Complications
As with any other industry, the food transportation industry isn’t without its challenges. For instance, 2019 saw driver shortages take hold, and sanitation standards and environmental impact challenges are also common. Despite this, these challenges have meant that gaps have been identified, and food transportation can be improved. For instance, contamination and handling, less-than-truckload shipping, refrigerated shipping, and must-arrive-by-dates must all be considered.
After all, food is to be consumed by people, which is why it’s so important that safety measures are implemented. In the absence of these measures, foodborne illnesses, such as salmonella, become rife. These illnesses can actually be fatal, meaning it’s of the utmost importance that they’re avoided. Less-than-truckload shipping can also present complications in the food transportation industry, as it can encourage a mix of products to be transported together, which can result in cross-contamination. Similarly, refrigerated shipping can be limited in availability, which can severely impact the quality of food. Last but not least, must-arrive-by-dates are extremely strict, and unforeseen circumstances can mean that these sometimes aren’t met. This can result in charges being incurred.
Best Food Transportation Practices
The best practices for food transportation refer to the people, the mode of transport, and the product. For instance, all food handlers require proper training to ensure safety and hygiene. Meanwhile, transportation vehicles must also be clean, otherwise, contamination could still occur. Lastly, the products themselves are the most important part of the process. This means:
- Keeping humidity levels as low as possible
- Maintaining the appropriate temperature
- Discarding damaged goods immediately
- Keeping dried goods at least six inches from the floor
- Using airtight containers for dried goods
- Inspecting goods for pests
Each of these measures should help ensure that the best food transportation practices are followed.