Recently, sources from the National Consumer League have raised an interesting question. That is, are shipping pallets exposing our food to contamination? While those in the Food Manufacturing industry work together with the government and health groups to improve the safety of America’s food supply, some are concerned that the sanitation of food transportation could use improvement.
Regulations and inspections help ensure food safety at the farm and factory stage, and restaurant workers and consumers can do their part to reduce cross-contamination and unsafe cooking practices inside and outside the home. But many experts feel that the transportation of food from production to the purchase point remains largely overlooked and under-regulated, thus leading to food contamination.
So what exactly is it that people are concerned about when it comes to food transportation? There are several different aspects of pallet use and storage that present potential food safety concerns. For example, if a pallet has the capacity to absorb water, then it is likely to harbor bacteria because it is difficult or even impossible to fully clean. This could contaminate food products such as fresh produce or meat. Another issue could be that a pallet that carries raw seafood on ice to a given destination is later used to transport heads of lettuce or apples to another.
There are steps that can be taken to potentially reduce the risk of food contamination during this transportation stage. For example, the packaging of the food should not allow for bacteria to enter, and pallets should never be stored outside in unsanitary conditions that are accessible to rodents or excessive moisture. An additional consideration when it comes to food pallets is discontinuing their use if they start to splinter, since this can damage food packaging and allow contaminants in.
While there is little that you can do during this process if you are a restaurant or grocery store owner, you can still protect yourself and your business financially with Food Contamination Insurance coverage in case an incident does occur. At Sinclair Risk & Financial Management, we’ll not only craft a comprehensive program for you, but our risk experts will also evaluate your overall financial assets and operations to advise you on other important food service concerns. For more information, please contact us at (203) 265-0996.