VANCOUVER, B.C. – Food needs to be transported safely.
It’s a simple message, but it’s one the B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) feels is worth publicizing, especially as more and more small businesses and start-ups enter the food products market.
“Given growing enthusiasm for small lot farming, urban farms and farmers’ markets, it’s conceivable that these and other fine food producers will expand as demand for their products increases. They may be able to deliver their own products now, but as they expand they will need to find a transportation contractor with more experience, equipment and established routes to carry their products to a broader range of markets, including grocery stores and restaurants,” says BCTA president and CEO Louise Yako.
“The public relies on grocery stores, food producers and transporters to follow regulations and best practices in preparing, storing and moving their edible goods—in fact, most consumers don’t even think about the processes involved and shouldn’t have to. Businesses with long experience in food production and distribution build strong relationships with professional transporters to ensure their products get where they need to go on time and at the right temperature. Both the business (or shipper) and the transporter should understand the hazards involved in transporting food and invest in equipment, sanitation procedures and training to guarantee a shipment arrives safely and in good condition.”
Strong relationships with dependable, reliable and knowledgeable carriers are especially important in light of recent legislative changes on both sides of the US-Canada border.
“There are rules in the works for transporters offering refrigerated services as well, and reputable trucking companies are aware of these, with established procedures for ensuring the integrity of the products they move based on the needs of their clients.”
The BCTA has designed information sheets for shippers who wish to educate themselves on some of the issue and who want some guidelines to use when interacting with potential carrier partners (or they can be used by carriers when dealing with potential new customers). They address equipment (how reefers work), procedures (including California certification), and pallet-use tips. The BCTA also includes links to government regulations and industry agencies.