ROSEMONT, IL (September 23, 2011 – Marketwire)—On the heels of the NBC Today Show report on “hot trucks” delivering unsafe, unrefrigerated perishables to restaurants and retailers, U.S. Foodservice (USF) today confirmed its commitment to food safety and reminded operators and distributors of the importance of temperature management throughout the food distribution process.
"Not everyone with a truck can be a food distributor," said Jorge Hernandez, senior vice president of food safety and quality assurance, U.S. Foodservice. "Maintaining the cold chain is one of the most effective ways to ensure safe, quality food. And not every distributor is the same when it comes to the level of sophisticated temperature-controlled transportation and technology required to ensure food gets safely from point A to point B."
In its media release, USF said it uses a variety of thermometers and time-temperature recorders in distribution vehicles to gather data that can be merged with GPS and IT systems to not only regulate temperatures of products in transit, but to also to manage the cold chain during loading, unloading and delivering. The company said it tested these processes with different food products, in various geographies and during all seasons to develop best practices that have been applied across the company's fleet of food transport vehicles.
Hernandez noted that a large portion of the responsibility for safe food delivery rests with distributors, but reminded operators to make sure that they buy from reputable distributors with strong food safety programs. He also suggested operators make temperature management a part of their business, noting that the faster products are stored in the freezer or cooler, the less potential for bacteria growth.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish safety standards for food transportation. Until those standards are written, suppliers and distributors are responsible for managing themselves.