Transporters of food are an important link in the food supply chain. Unfortunately, this is a link that can be more difficult to control, especially for smaller establishments. This is not the first time that food haulers have been found using poor food handling practices. The State of Indiana found similar issues with haulers in 2011.
This inspection demonstrates some of the unsafe practices that can be used by food transporters.
- Temperature control – with fuel prices high, there is a financial incentive for truckers to shut off their refrigeration units, turning them back on right before the delivery is made. In warm weather, this unacceptable practice can be especially troublesome.
- Hauling potentially hazardous chemicals in the same trailer as food – this can be an issue when those chemicals get onto the food packaging and/or on the food.
- Residual chemicals left in the trailer that may contaminate food. As trucks crisscross the country side, they may carry a number of items. It is important for trucks to be well cleaned before carrying food, and when hauling certain chemicals, those trucks should not be carrying food at all.
- Food left uncovered during transport. Foods must be wrapped to prevent contamination during loading, unloading, and transport. This also creates a situation where there is the possibility of intentional contamination.
FDA has written guidance for the sanitary transport of food. These as well as other safe food transporting practices can be found here. http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/SanitationTransportation/ucm208199.htm
Pennsylvania State Police
News for Immediate Release
May 13, 2013
PA State Police Announce Operation Code R.E.D. Enforcement Results
Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania State Police today announced the results of Operation Code R.E.D. (Refrigerated Enforcement Detail) refrigerator food truck inspection enforcement effort held on April 23.
Operation Code R.E.D. targeted commercial vehicles and large trucks transporting potentially hazardous foods.
“During Operation Code R.E.D., the Pennsylvania State Police and the Department of Agriculture worked together targeting food trucks to make certain that these trucks and our food are both safe,” said State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan.
“The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is committed to food safety from farm to fork, and Code R.E.D. helps ensure food remains safe temperatures while in transit,” said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. “CODE R.E.D helps keep food in transit fresh and safe for our restaurants, retailers and consumers.”
During the one-day effort, highly trained personnel from the state police and food inspectors from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture worked together to inspect 395 food trucks across the state resulting in the issuance of 115 traffic citations and 259 written warnings for driver/vehicle safety violations of the federal motor carrier safety regulations.
In addition, 10 trucks were found to have violated laws pertaining to the safe transportation of food. Seven of those trucks were found with unsanitary cargo areas while three more were transporting potentially hazardous foods at unsafe temperatures.
“According to the United States Department of Agriculture, commercial motor vehicles are used to transport 80 to 90 percent of all consumer products in the United States, including food. Unfortunately, most efforts aimed at protecting our food supply are focused on the beginning or end of the food chain,” said Noonan.
For more information, visit the state police website at www.psp.state.pa.us.
Media contacts: Maria A. Finn or Tpr. Adam Reed, 717-783-5556
Editor’s Note: Following is a breakdown, by state police troop area, of the number of inspections conducted and citations/warnings issued by state police during the one-day program:
· Troop A (Cambria, Indiana, Somerset and Westmoreland counties), 12 inspections; one citation; 16 warnings.
· Troop B (Allegheny, Fayette, Greene and Washington counties), 33 inspections; 13 citations; 28 warnings; three trucks with unsanitary cargo areas; two trucks transporting food at unsafe temperatures.
· Troop C (Clarion, Clearfield, Forest, Elk, Jefferson and McKean counties), 44 inspections; nine citations; 35 warnings.
· Troop D (Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties), 23 inspections; no citations; five warnings.
· Troop E (Crawford, Erie, Venango and Warren counties), 28 inspections; nine cations; 17 warnings.
· Troop F (Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Union and Tioga counties), 19 inspections; five citations; eight warnings.
· Troop G (Bedford, Blair, Centre, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata and Mifflin counties), 23 inspections; nine citations; 25 warnings.
· Troop H (Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Perry and York counties), 45 inspections; six citations; two warnings.
· Troop J (Chester and Lancaster counties), 35 inspections; 11 citations; 14 warnings; four trucks with unsanitary cargo areas; one trucks transporting food at unsafe temperature.
· Troop K (Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties), 39 inspections; 12 citations; 33 warnings.
· Troop L (Berks, Lebanon and Schuylkill counties), five inspections; no citations; one warning.
· Troop M (Bucks, Lehigh and Northampton counties), four inspections; no citations; six warnings.
Troop N (Carbon, Columbia, Monroe and part of Luzerne counties), four inspections; one citation; four warnings.
· Troop P (Bradford, Sullivan, Wyoming and part of Luzerne counties), 13 inspections; six citations; nine warnings.
· Troop R (Lackawanna, Pike, Susquehanna and Wayne counties), 30 inspections;16 citations; 32 warnings.
· Troop T (Pennsylvania Turnpike), 38 inspections; 17 citations; 24 warnings.
Food haulers targeted by police, ag inspectors
Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 10:10 p.m.
Updated 14 hours ago
Ice from frozen chicken melted onto fresh broccoli inside one truck. Chemicals sat above and near food on another. Uncovered doughnuts sat on the floor of a third truck.
Pennsylvania State Police troopers and Department of Agriculture inspectors teamed up for the first time last month and found 10 trucks out of 395 in violation of food safety laws during one day of inspections targeting refrigerated trucks.
“I think just having people out there out of compliance is troubling. Ten out of 400 is more than you want to see,” said Martin Bucknavage, a senior food safety extension associate with Penn State University. “If these guys know there's an opportunity they're going to be inspected, they're more apt to follow the law.”
State police Lt. Ray Cook, director of the commercial vehicle safety division, organized the enforcement because he noticed more calls for agriculture inspectors and heard stomach-churning stories from his troopers.
Troopers warned and cited drivers for vehicle safety violations. Agriculture inspectors focused on food.
Three trucks were too warm, and their loads were disposed of in a Dumpster, said Lydia Johnson, the Agriculture Department's director of the Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services. State law allows at most 41 degrees inside refrigerated trucks. Frozen food must remain frozen at all times.
Seven trucks had unsanitary cargo areas, Johnson said. Violators are fined at the discretion of a magistrate.
Troopers working in Allegheny, Fayette, Greene and Washington counties stopped 33 trucks. Inspectors found three with unsanitary cargo areas and two trucks transporting food at unsafe temperatures, state police said. The Agriculture Department did not provide details on the Western Pennsylvania violations despite repeated requests from the Tribune-Review.
Details of eight violations from inspections on April 23 show two trucks cited and portions of three loads destroyed, according to reports the department provided. Also:
• Inspectors issued a warning to Kawa Trading Inc., a Philadelphia company hauling the thawing chicken and produce. No one from Kawa would comment.
• Uncovered doughnuts on a nonrefrigerated Kawa delivery truck were tossed after inspection. The doughnut company, whose name the Agriculture Department did not know, was warned but not cited.
• Inspectors disposed of about 40 pounds of chicken that fell by accident from a Philadelphia-based Ling Trucking Inc. truck stopped in Lancaster County.
• Inspectors issued a violation for a Shurfine truck stopped in Dauphin County when they found chemicals stored above and near food. Berks County-based Associated Wholesalers Inc., which owns Shurfine stores, would not comment.
• A YP Mushroom truck hauling food was cited for having a bucket of tofu with no lid and no label during a stop in Avondale. YP Mushroom could not be reached.
Dave Anoia, the chef at Spoon in East Liberty, was shocked to hear about the violations. Anoia has never noticed a problem with delivered food products. He checks the food's temperature and quality when it arrives at the restaurant.
“You should be checking it every time it comes in because as soon as it hits your door, you're liable,” Anoia said.