US Foodservice warns over importance of temperature control

Rosemont, IL, US:  US Foodservice has warn end-users about the importance of temperature-control throughout the food distribution process is one of the most effective ways to reduce food borne illnesses. The warning comes after recent highly publicized investigations show that maintaining proper temperatures throughout distribution continues to be a major issue in the US food industry.

There have been numorours reports of trucks stopped by law enforecement authorities and found to have defective fridges or simply fridges turned off to save fuel despite high outside tempertures. Food within the vehicles has been above  acceptable or safe, temepratures.

“Not everyone with a truck can be a food distributor,” said Jorge Hernandez, senior vice president of food safety and quality assurance, US 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.”

US Foodservice 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 manage the cold chain during loading, unloading and delivering. The company 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.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will require the US 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.

“At US Foodservice, we take detailed steps to help prevent contamination during transport – ranging from cold storage in trucks to food safety training for all employees – and encourage other distributors, regardless of size, to adopt verifiably safe transportation practices under the FSMA,” said Hernandez. “While a large portion of the responsibility rests with food distributors, operators should make sure that they buy from distributors with strong food safety programs and then make temperature management a part of their business.”

The faster products are stored in the freezer or cooler, the less potential for bacteria growth. In fact, any food that requires refrigeration and is left above 41 degrees for more than four hours is at a high risk of causing food borne illness.

“There is nothing more important than the safety of the food US Foodservice delivers to customers,” said Hernandez. “We continue to educate our employees, our suppliers and our customers on the importance of food safety protocol.”

US Foodservice is $19bn turnover distributor offering branded and own-label products to 250,000 customers, including restaurants, health care and hospitality entities, educational institutions and prominent multi-unit restaurant companies.