There’s a great article in Fleet Owner Magazine that describes the looming impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) on the trucking industry. While the details of the law are still being hammered out, the law does require the secretary of the US Health and Human Services (HHS) department to “promulgate regulations onsanitary transportation practices for the transportationof food.” Further it requires HHS to “improve tracking and tracing of processed foods and fruits and vegetables that are raw agricultural commodities in the event of a food-borne illness outbreak; and establish standards for the type of information, format, and time frame for persons to submit records to aid the secretary in such tracking and tracing.”
Carriers are being urged to utilize technology to help assure the integrity and safety of their goods and, in the case of temperature-controlled food for instance, also help to reduce spoilage and loss. According to Dr. John Ryan, president of Ryan Systems, it is the shippers’ customers’ that are the ones holding the whip handle. According to Ryan, food spoilage in transit is also “a huge issue.” The article states that approximately 5 to 7% of food is lost in transit. But using technology to monitor temperature and to optimize cargo loading and routing can be a big help.
“Mostly, the suppliers’ customers are the ones who want to know the data about the perishables they are paying for,” says Ryan. “They are driving this because they are the ones on the front line facing the customer, the end user. Their message [to carriers] is plain: You are responsible for what you are shipping to me.”
Ryan then discusses sensor-based technologies and how RFID can help. “You can use sensors to get temperature readings at the pallet level and you can use GPS to track the load and cellular technology to transmit the temperature data in real time.
RFID-based sensors can also enable dynamic routing to improve the delivery and freshness of produce.“Produce with the shortest shelf life should be delivered first and through the shortest route,” Ryan notes, “in order to give that retailer the most shelf life possible. Technology makes that doable.”
Intelleflex data confirms this to be true. There’s a lot of temperature variability – at the pallet level – in the trailers. You can read our case study on the impacts of temperature on blackberries here.
Senior Director of Marketing