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Food Service Distributor Delivery Temperatures

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 03:58 PM

Hello all!


My company is a small food service distributor and, I need some guidance on how to keep our refrigerated side of the trailer within an acceptable temperature range. Within the food service distribution realm of the cold chain, is it common for temperatures on food being delivered to "go out of spec" and above the 41 F threshold? My background is more in the 3PL side of the cold chain and I've never dealt with directly delivering to restaurants/end consumer before. As a Food Safety Manager I understand the importance of staying under the 41 F threshold, but having come from Operations, I also understand that it isn't so easy to maintain when you're constantly opening and shutting the trailer door and gathering your items for delivery as a driver sometimes 30 minutes at a time. I'm looking for some common ground to make both the Food Safety Department happy as well as the Transportation/Operations Department. 



My questions to everyone are:


  1. What is the industry practice on delivering perishables above 41 F? Is this common? I feel an auditor/inspector would argue this violates the FSMA Transportation rule due to not maintaining a safe temperature for frozen/refrigerated product.
  2. I often don't see trailer temperature records until after the delivery is completed, so what is the best recourse for any temperature deviations? Should temperature deviation fall on the customer receiving the product? (i.e.--The customer should perform a temperature check to ensure product is acceptable to receive.) For a BRC Audit and/or FSMA adherence, would this be acceptable to push that responsibility onto the customer? 
  3. Are 'strip curtains' the only solution to try to keep warm air out of the trailer to maintain a proper box temperature? 


Thanks for any insight!



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Posted 17 June 2024 - 05:04 PM

I don't believe it is common that much anymore. I do believe it was common in the past but what with temperature sensors online software and shippers that specialize in food hauling as well as distributors that have the ability to have their trucks designed with separate compartments for frozen, refrigerated and ambient it will become a thing of the past.


I worked in logistics/food safety (combined- that way you don't have to jump happy hoops) with Hilton International (a little known div that run our own trucks) and each box and trailer was sectionalized and every temperature sensor could be checked thru the mounted tracker on the roof of cab section.


It was never our customers fault if a delivery was out of spec - that fell on us and was handled up front thru a chain of custody input form that the driver and receiver reviewed that included at exact time of delivery Temps.


It was a very tight system, but only with 100% ownership of the rigs was it doable - if you are using a contractor you'd need to design your own program and then do followup that would include QA ride alongs.

All the Best,


All Rights Reserved,

Without Prejudice,

Glenn Oster.







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