Evaluating refrigerated trucks to minimize foodborne illness risks

Everything you do to ensure safe and wholesome fruits and vegetables from your farm can quickly be undone if that produce is transported in poorly operating refrigerated trucks.

Implementing good food safety in the production of fruits and vegetables is an important and difficult thing to do. The work that you put into delivering a safe, wholesome product can quickly be undone if the vehicle transporting your produce is not in working order or poorly cared for. Below are some things to look for to evaluate a refrigerated truck.

General cleanliness

The truck should be free of the odor of rot or manure. It should be clean and free of debris on the floor and the floor drains should be unobstructed to allow for adequate drainage of liquid.

General condition

The walls and doors should be undamaged. The weather stripping on the door seals should be undamaged for both the rear and side doors and both should close tightly. The air delivery chute baffles should be in good repair and allow for uniform air circulation throughout the unit. The front bulkhead should also be installed and in good repair.

If you are contracting a trucking company to haul your produce to a retailer, it is within your right to demand a truck that meets the specifications for these food safety standards. If you haul your own produce, you can use this as a preflight checklist to ensure you are on target for your in-house food safety standards.

To obtain a guidance document on evaluating refrigerated trucks, contact the Agrifood Safety Work Group at gaps@msu.edu or 517-788-4292 and ask for guidance document AFSM037-01.

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