Food safety: Keeping the loading dock and equipment clean

Posted by Harriet Mills on Sep 23, 2016 9:20:50 AM

Reefer_Truck_63541162-1.jpgThe Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA, is an expanding document that continually grows in order to make the food we eat safer and less likely to be contaminated, covering each stop along the way “from farm to table.”

Though it is widely praised, several critics have pointed out there is a lot of emphasis on the proper handling of food while the “table” part of the equation is neglected. To compensate for this deficiency, in April of 2016 the FDA published its latest FSMA rules pertaining to the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food. 

As one of the seven foundational rules designed to create a modern, risk-based framework for food safety — during transportation in this case — the FDA has stated, “The rule establishes requirements for shippers, loaders, carriers by motor or rail vehicle, and receivers involved in transporting human and animal food to use sanitary practices to ensure the safety of that food. The requirements do not apply to transportation by ship or air because of limitations in the law.”

Download Choptank's infographic, A Shipper's Roadmap to FSMA.


While these transportation and food safety regulations do a lot to ensure safer handling, many shippers still have reservations about some safety issues around loading and unloading shipments. In order to address these concerns, we at Choptank have identified some of these most common risks:

  • Contaminated or unsanitary contact surfaces inside of a shipping trailer, which may include residue from food, grease, dirt and more.
  • Loading dock with any unsanitary contaminants. This can mean general untidiness where there is a risk of foreign objects or materials falling into containers or packages, or improper cleaning.
  • Inadequately inspected loading area or equipment.
  • Non-sanitized and uninspected storage area on the loading dock.
  • Missing documentation or paperwork detailing performance standards and expectations.

Because it is in both the consumer’s and the shipper’s best interests to be aware of these risk factors, Choptank works to ensure carriers uphold strict sanitary standards at the loading dock, inside in the trailer, on the shipping pallet and other overlooked places.

By embracing and closely following FSMA regulations, we're able to mitigate the above risk factors and provide better assurance that the food you ship will be transported in a sanitary environment and safely arrive at its destination.

In the end, we want to make sure the equipment used to ship your food is cleaned as thoroughly as your tables and place settings.


Tags: Careers & Culture, Regulations