One of the most significant quality-of-life differences between our world today and that of only a few generations past is refrigeration. This is particularly the case when it comes to the transportation of food, for millennia fresh foods were consumed quickly within a few miles of where they were grown and harvested.
In the mid-1800s, the first experiments with shipping food in railway cars with ice and then refrigeration brought mixed results. It was still only possible to move produce, milk and other perishables a few hundred miles with any success. It was not until 1949 that the trucking industry got into the game of transporting refrigerated food with cranky and cumbersome roof-mounted cooling machinery.
Today, there is no sense of amazement that one can walk into a store in Texas and buy fresh fruit from Israel or buy ice cream in Montana packaged in and shipped from New Hampshire.
The Cold Logistics Chain
Those modern miracles that can be taken for granted are possible thanks to what the industry now calls the Cold Logistics Chain. The processes and technologies that make it economically possible – and safe – to ship perishable foods thousands of miles have become a science and industry that continues to evolve. Today, more than ever, the commercial trucker is the most vital link in that ever-important chain.
Whether one is talking about fresh fish, freshly picked tomatoes, organic milk, or any other of thousands of products, there are crucial elements of the chain from the point of origin to the customer’s hands when the items require cold storage and transportation.
The entirety of the cold food chain involves an entire team of players. These include:
Cold processing facilities. Plants and facilities that prepare food for storage and transport in sanitary environments.
Cold storage. Holding spaces for items that are waiting for or in transit to the final user.
Portable cooling and refrigeration technologies. Capabilities that allow the transport of foods at monitored and controlled temperatures.
Cold transport. Moving perishables and frozen items at stable temperatures and monitoring them during the entire process.
Cold distribution. The “last-mile” movement of cold chain products to retailers, wholesalers, and other points of distribution.
The Unique Challenges and Demands of Food Grade Transport
Not all items that are part of the food transport industry require refrigeration or freezing; however, monitoring temperatures, times of transit, and sanitation conditions are common to all aspects of Food Grade Transport.
One aspect of safety that many consumers do not consider is the importance and difficulty of maintaining stable temperatures during the movement of foods. Even if they purchase a product that is frozen at the supermarket or the right temperature sitting in the vegetable section, that might be misleading.
If those products are exposed to undesirable temperature extremes during transit, they can spoil more quickly. Food that has been allowed to thaw even partially and then refrozen often presents significant health risks. While it is easy for unethical players to hide these problems if they arise, the cold logistics chain is increasingly expecting documentation of monitored temperatures throughout the transportation process.
Another safety issue arises when shipments are mishandled and/or stolen. Falsified claims about stable temperatures may result in branded items being sold to consumers who are then unknowingly exposed to those health risks. Even if no health problems arise, deterioration of quality and taste can be damaging to brands and their perceived value in the marketplace.
Where Professionalism and Diligence Pays Big Dividends
America and the world today depend on a safe and efficient cold logistics chain. Professional truckers make that chain and safe food-grade transport a possibility and a reality. The trucking industry will continue to invest in processes, technologies, and safeguards that keep that vital link secure.
As your local trucking company, Road Scholar Transport takes full responsibility for your LTL and Truckload shipping needs, using precise measures to securely monitor every load we ship, providing consistent temperature, security seal handling, and protection of your valuable cargo for the duration of the transport. It’s no wonder we have a VERY LOW damage claim record of 0.0003%!
Road Scholar does not use blankets to sustain temperature conditions. Our trailers can be set as low as -22°F to as high as 89°F, providing protect from freezing, frozen, refrigerated, and heated service. Our reefers are embedded with technology that tracks the temperature within and alerts our team in the event of a temperature fluctuation so that we can rectify the situation prior to the product losing its integrity. We can remotely set the temperature too!
We even provide our customers with the tools to track their shipment live throughout the entire transportation process and can provide a complete record of the temperature within the trailer at any given time, even months after delivery, as well as each time the trailer door was opened/closed.
Check out Road Scholar Transport’s temperature-controlled shipping page for more information.