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Correct approach for dealing with migrants in a truck

BRC; food defense incidents

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Posted 07 November 2019 - 10:29 AM



There are  a lot of issues lately with migrants in trucks in Europe and I was wondering which is the correct procedure to approach an incident. Although BRC doesn't require to have a plan for this, but well one for incidents like fire, flooding, disruption of electricity, water, sabotage, cyber attack, I know that it is  a Tesco requirement, so maybe there are members familiar with this topic. It never happened with us, and I hope it will never happen, but still, what is the correct approach? we don't handle transport and we are not the owner of the product, but in case we open the truck/container and there are migrants inside, which is the correct procedure to follow? Informing authorities (police, Food safety Authority), informing the owner of the product (client), blocking the product in the truck and don't unload it, but then what should we do with the people? From human point of view, it is providing them first aid, getting them out of the vehicle, giving them water, possibility to warm up (refrigerated products), but on the other side, if they enter the company via the loading area, is that area compromised from the point of view of food safety? And what if we let them in the canteen?  I saw that there was already a discussion on this forum in 2015, but then it was only about how to secure the vehicle. 


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Posted 07 November 2019 - 11:57 AM

I'd suggest considering this within the context of your food defence plan - whilst the access gained to product/vehicles/property certainly isn't malicious, it does relate to security and could certainly have implications for food safety.

Certainly you should inform the police or an appropriate authority (otherwise you are in effect an accessory to any crime that may have been committed), and potentially obtain medical assistance.

And treating those you've found with civility seems to be the sensible thing to do as well, if they arrive at the delivery point. Exactly which bits of the site you can give them access to will depend on the layout, so you'd need to consider what it might mean in your situation. My inclination would be to make sure everyone was warm, had a cup of tea (I'm British ;) ), food etc., but equally it probably isn't sensible to compromise any of the actual production activities to achieve this. Nonetheless I think it requires broader discussion within a business to decide on such things - as an individual I'd happily scrap a day's production to prioritise care for fellow humans, but business agendas don't always align with personal ones...

It's also worth bearing in mind that sticking around may not be their intent, as they may wish to avoid the authorities in the country in which they arrive.


In terms of the implications for the product, you may need to look at the risk based on the nature of the product and how it is transported. Is it genuinely secure and sealed, e.g. metal drums with numbered metal security seals such that you can really prove nothing has happened to it?

Quarantine should be a default initial response, to allow proper assessment in terms of potential risk, and I'd take a very risk-averse position on this; anything that can't be proven to be completely uncompromised should be scrapped IMO. Might also be worth discussing with your insurers - it's a bit easier getting clarity on it in advance, than it is in a "live" situation. Similarly it also helps if you have clear definition


I have had some experience of this, although not as far as arriving at site. During the period when lots of migrants were trying to enter the UK from Calais we had several incidents of people trying to get into tankers. I think it's a mark of the level of desperation these people are feeling when they are willing to consider climbing into a closed tank of 25000L of cold liquid to attempt to make the journey to another country...

Thankfully no-one actually managed it, as I think it would be very likely to result in death by drowning and/or hypothermia. 

Our default approach was that every tanker on which a seal had been broken was rejected.

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Posted 07 November 2019 - 03:14 PM

Unfortunately I now work for a bigger company where I can't just do what I want but in my old company I included this in my TACCP plan and I contacted every supplier to make sure they knew my expectation that they would contact us and dispose of any ingredients or primary packaging on any vehicle which had been found to contain migrants.  Think about it... people are on a lorry and have nowhere to go to the toilet.  Through bitter experience I've received a pallet of ingredients before which, in the stretch wrap film, there were signs of urine.  Oh yes, the pallet had been used as a toilet.  We then had an argument with the supplier that we didn't want to accept the remaining product from them even though they said it was "inspected and fine".  Nah.  I don't want product which has a risk of human urine on it thank you.


So my advice is, get your plans in up front, ideally put it into your contracts that they will inform you so you can hold them accountable.  I'd also risk assess in your TACCP plan which loads are likely to be impacted with people potentially actually arriving at your site.  So for us, unfortunately the reality is it's any load which has come from outside Great Britain will be higher risk due to the pressure at Calais and elsewhere in Europe.  People are not going to climb in a lorry in Norwich to get off at Peterborough.  Are there specific routes in Europe which are more risky? 


It's not just about if they arrive at site but what happens in the supply chain.  For arrival at site, I would think you'd be obligated to ensure safety of them and your staff so to call for medical treatment if needed but also you'd be obligated to contact the police.  I'd also recommend you do that anyway to ensure your staff are protected.  It may be worth thinking about how you'd secure your site in those circumstances as they are likely to be inside your site perimeter.  Do you have any kind of "lock down" that you could do? 


A site I used to work at had the situation where they had people arrive in a lorry.  The reality of it was there was little risk to site because the people were fit, well, jumped out of the back and ran away.  They simply reported it to the police.  Didn't go down well with the haulier because they got fined but that's life.


It's so sad that people are doing this for a better life or to escape fear.  The only people who benefit are the traffickers.


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Posted 07 November 2019 - 03:37 PM

We were told last year that we must include this in our goods-in checks, by our local environmental health auditor.  It had been an issue for some of her other sites.  It is not something that has ever been an issue for us but we have now added it as part of our goods in procedures.


At the time I couldn't find a great deal on the web advising, but did come across this presentation to give me some understanding of the issue: https://londonproduc...chofield.pptx   - talks about clandestines from about slide 30 onwards

Edited by lffps, 07 November 2019 - 03:44 PM.

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