Between January 2011 and September 2012 there were over 1,700 foodborne illnesses linked to food recalls including 37 deaths, according to data provided by the Food and Drug Administration and the Food Safety Inspection Service. In fact, foodborne illnesses affect 1 in 6 people annually, claiming nearly 3,000 lives.1
Food Modernization Act
On January 4th, 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law by President Obama, making it the first significant food safety reform in over 70 years. Last month, the (FDA) progressed forward in releasing two major proposals that would do the following:
1. Manufacturing, process, packing, or holding facilities of human food products that “are required to register with FDA under FDA’s current food facility registration regulations,” must “develop a formal plan for preventing their products from causing foodborne illnesses.”2, 3 This includes:
a) “Analyzing potential hazards associated with their facilities” along with a recall plan.4
b) “Develop and implement controls to significantly minimize or prevent those hazards.”4
c) “Verify the controls are working (and take corrective action if they are not).”4
d) “Periodically reassess those hazards and controls.”4
2. “Enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms.”3
Even with regulations such as the Food Safety Modernization Act, shippers continue to face contamination concerns due to several risk factors.
The risk of wooden pallets causing contamination to products in the supply chain is becoming an increasing concern, due to chemicals and bacteria that can penetrate and build up in the pallet.
Recall the recent case where 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA), a chemical compound used to treat wood products, was found in pallets being brought into the U.S. through other countries.
To make matters worse, with 1-2 billion wood pallets being shipped in the U.S. and nearly 500 million being replaced each year, it is nearly impossible to enforce total control of wooden pallets treated with TBP being imported. Therefore, the industry faces several recalls each year due to contaminated products.
It is often a moldy odor reported by consumers that lead food, beverage, pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare companies to detect the TBA substance but since the chemical leaves an unpleasant taste, it often goes unrecognized when taking a pill or tablet, making it harder to detect the TBA taints in pharmaceuticals.
If wooden pallets serve as means of contamination, so can trailers with wooden floors as well, due to spills within the trailer from previous freight, unsanitary objects and materials being carried on from shoes and forklifts, among many other means.
Here’s how Road Scholar Transport can help:
*We utilize aluminum floor trailers which can help prevent contamination built up on wooden flooring over time, creating a more sanitary environment for your products.
*We conduct regular sweeps on all trailers to ensure that your freight is being transported in a clean, and therefore safe, environment.
*We have record of what was inside the trailer before your freight, before that, within the last month, and so on, as well as what has been transported since the last time the trailer was cleaned.
Proper temperature conditions during transport remain a top concern among shippers whose products must maintain specific temperature ranges or else face spoilage and contamination risks. Temperature regulation concerns result from weather conditions (as hot summer months resulting in extremely high temperatures within the trailer as well as winter conditions posing freezing concerns) along with carriers trying to cut costs.
The abnormally high number of trucks containing faulty or no refrigeration units at all are found to result from two main causes: 1. Poor maintenance habits and 2. With the rising price of fuel many companies are shutting their reefer units off during transport and quickly turning them on again right before delivery thinking that it will acquire the necessary temperature. 5
41 degrees is the maximum temperature refrigerated foods must be transported in to prevent bacterial growth and any fluctuation in temperature by carriers turning off their units can tamper the product and cause widespread recalls and consumer health concerns.
But what if we told you that Road Scholar Transport can assure you, the shipper, that your products were safely transported in the required temperature range given throughout the entire delivery process?
With our ReeferTrak system, we can provide our customers proof of the exact temperature inside the reefer any time, even months after delivery so you don’t have to worry about whether your products face a possible contamination risk due to improper transport.
Our ReeferTrak immediately alerts our team of even the slightest change in the temperature of your freight, providing the right environmental conditions for your freight. We also cut back on the handling of your products, which could lead to contamination, by offering 24-hour expedited service, dock-to-dock with NO transfers.
Road Scholar can provide the exact route that the truck took with a time log noting every door opening/closing, temperature conditions within the trailer at any given time, and its exact location (right down to the breadcrumbs).
Cargo theft has always been a leading issue in the trucking industry. According to FreightWatch, Food/Drinks averaged a value loss per incident of $73,673 last year, accounting for the number one stolen product type for three consecutive years.
“One of the more notorious product recalls involving a widely recognized consumable brand was the case of Tylenol. In 1982, several people died after taking Tylenol laced with cyanide. It was discovered that the Tylenol was tampered with—but as a result of the news, Tylenol, then Johnson & Johnson’s best selling pharmaceutical product, saw its market share drop from about 37 percent to 7 percent. As a shipper, a key lesson learned from Tylenol was the tampering occurred outside the confines of the manufacturing facility.” 6 ~Excerpt from “Supply Chain Insanity…Would You Use a Babysitter You Found on Craigslist?” Request your copy here.
Do you feel that food safety efforts in the supply chain have improved greatly in the recent years or require significant change yet?
For a copy of Road Scholar’s food transport safety brochure click here.