It’s the dead of summer and a truckload of fresh beef is making its way from the Texas Panhandle to a distribution center in Tennessee. Somewhere around mile 670, in western Arkansas, the truck breaks down.
A quick assessment by the driver reveals it’s a major breakdown and backup is called. In total, the trailer goes without refrigeration for 37 minutes, and for a sensitive product like fresh meat, the quality and safety is severely jeopardized.
“Temperature control is essential to control bacterial growth. If the temperature becomes compromised, then a food safety risk can show up,” said Dave Theno, CEO of Gray Dog Partners Inc.
Preventing that kind of risk is at the heart of the sanitary transportation rule that Congress mandated with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). But compliance isn’t the only reason for those in the food supply chain to keep it cool.
“There is an economic driver for it too. Shelf life is set on maintaining a product properly. If a product withstands a major temperature increase, it may reduce shelf life and cause it to spoil early, which leads to additional charges,” Theno said.