Refrigerated couriers have an important task. Transporting food from the area of origin through to the place where it is to be purchased or used in food preparation should be carried out safely and in accordance with the relevant legislation. Let’s say for example you were responsible for the management of refrigeration trucks. You would be legally obliged to ensure that your vehicles and drivers fully complied with the regulations. Refrigerated couriers should be certified and properly trained because food that has been incorrectly transported or stored at the wrong temperature can result in unpleasant surprises for consumers and financial penalties for companies who fail to comply.
In the UK there are several regulations that are relevant to the safe transportation of food including
The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013. These guidelines include specific practices that will guarantee that the food you transport is fit for human consumption. The Food Standards Agency provides lots of information on safe working practices and the importance of good hygiene in the transportation of food. All businesses in the food service sector should be familiar with these.
HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points) is a way of managing food safety hazards. Food safety management procedures should be based on HACCP principles. One of the principles is to identify risk areas within the distribution process and the action that is taken to minimise hazards.
A courier who has certified procedures for the transport food products should also have a good understanding of when temperature control is needed. This could be chilled, frozen or heated vehicles. There are several categories that fall into food that needs temperature control:
- Dairy based foods
- Cooked foods and ready to eat products
- Smoked or cured fish or meat
- Uncooked or part cooked dough and pastry
When the food product needs to be cooled, it should be kept below 8 degrees and frozen foods should be stored at a temperature of -20 degrees. A good food courier will be familiar with these guidelines and ensure that they are fully implemented.
During the process of transporting food, couriers should be particularly aware of contamination from microbes. This will involve:
- Ensuring that food products are appropriately packaged or stored within containers to prevent external contamination
- Raw foods and cooked foods should be kept separately
- The vehicle of transportation must be in excellent condition and cleaned thoroughly and regularly
Certification for Refrigerated couriers transporting food is so important for many reasons. A properly certified company will not only be knowledgeable about the various regulations and best practice guidance, they will recognise the importance of effective food safety and follow the correct procedures to ensure that the food transported to consumers is safe to eat.