What are the current UK laws on chilled food transportation?
The way that food is transported and stored has a huge impact on not just the quality of the product when it reaches the retailer and eventual end consumer, it also dramatically affects whether or not the goods are actually fit for consumption. Food that requires chilled storage and transformation may developer harmful bacteria and spoil if the correct temperature isn’t maintained at each stage of the supply chain.
To that end, it should come as no surprise that chilled food transportation is governed by a number of UK regulations.
First thing first, let’s recap what chilled storage is
Chilled storage and transportation means that the goods must be refrigerated below 8°C. Chilled food transportation must maintain perishable goods requiring chilled storage, such as ready meals, dairy products and anything with a use by date attached, at this temperature. This requirement is governed by a number of pieces of UK legislation, most notably:
- Regulation (EC) 852/2004
- The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013
The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 state that food should be kept below 8°C in order to “inhibit or prevent harmful micro organisms from multiplying”. Food can be placed outside of that temperature control temporarily during the storing and transport process but should not be left outside of that level for any period of time that could result in bacteria developing and the food becoming unsafe for consumption.
What’s more, the temperature must be monitored and recorded.
Transport of chilled foods
Chilled food transportation regulation does not just apply to food when it’s on the road from supplier to storage or from storage to retailer for example. The regulations stipulate that transportation for the purposes of the law also cover:
- Food collected from suppliers and then moved to main ration stores or messes
- The transport of prepared food to other facilities
Of course, chilled food is usually placed in some kind of container before being placed in a chilled food transportation vehicle. This means that those containers, such as boxes, crates, bags or even trays also fall under the legislation. The law states that these containers must be kept clean, disinfected before being used to move another, different item and measures taken to avoid contamination.
High risk foods should be stored separately and, any prepared foods, such as ready meals are subject to paragraph 0340 of the regulations.