Any type of food requires transportation from where it is produced to the point of use. As food is now imported and exported on a global basis, foods can be moved in many ways including planes, boats, tankers, trucks, railways and more. Foods and food ingredients can be refrigerated, frozen and kept at an ambient temperature in these various methods of transportation. As there are so many different types of food types, containers, temperatures and requirements for handling the food products that are being transported are sometimes prone to mistreatment and contamination as they are moved from place to place. Furthermore, some foods such as meat and fish may not be transported in the correct manner i.e. in temperature controlled vehicles. This presents a serious health hazard. Incorrect handling and storage, particularly when foods need to be stored and transported in temperature controlled vehicles can result in food arriving at its destination that is unsafe for human consumption. Without the correct safeguards in place this can result in serious illnesses for anyone who consumes the meat or fish product. So how can you make sure that the hazards associated with transporting food products are reduced to an acceptable level?
- Vehicles – Temperature controlled vehicles must be regularly maintained, cleaned and checked to ensure they are operating at the right temperature. Failure to transport fresh meat and fish at the right temperature could result in the growth of bacteria making it dangerous for humans to eat.
- Transportation Process – As the meat and fish is being loaded and unloaded into the transportation vehicle is it undertaken in a safe way to prevent damage or cross contamination through for example raw and cooked produce.
- Training – Inadequate training is one of the most common reasons why health hazards are created. All staff should be suitably trained in the safe and hygienic transportation of meat and fish products including how to check temperatures, reduce cross contamination and ensure that their vehicles remain clean and fit for purpose at all times.
- Records Management – Written procedures should be formulated to ensure that food is safely transported, and staff not only have access to these procedures, but they are familiar with them.
Temperature controlled vehicles can vary in terms of the food they are designed to transport and the temperature. Some vehicles are designed for cooling while others are meant for freezing so it is important that the correct vehicle is used to transport meat and fish.
The above processes and procedures are normally outlined within the companies HACCP Plan. (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points).