If you own or operate refrigerated trucks, it’s important to go above and beyond in terms of maintenance. These vehicles have built-in refrigeration units responsible for keeping perishable goods like produce, dairy and meat fresh.
If you don’t clean and maintain your trailers, cooling units and thermometers regularly, they’re more likely to break down or malfunction. If that occurs, you could lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars in perishable goods. Even worse, spoiled food could make it to a grocery store shelf and sicken who knows how many people.
In 2017, The Food and Drug Administration established a rule called the Food Safety Modernization Act. The goal of the rule was to establish a set of guidelines that would protect food from being contaminated between the time it’s harvested to the time it reaches consumers. To reduce contamination, the rule focuses on a number of “safe” transportation practices, including:
- Cleanliness guidelines for trailers and trucks
- Separation of raw and non-raw foods during transport
- Minimizing exposure to contaminants and allergens
- Record keeping and documentation
It’s important to familiarize yourself with the Food Safety Modernization Act, but that alone won’t protect your business or customers. To do that, you need to go the extra mile and regularly clean your refrigerated units. Here are a few recommendations to keep in mind:
1.) Wash the trailer after every load. Food is messy. Whether you’re transporting freshly picked berries or frozen cuts of meat, there’s bound to be residue left behind. Washing out the interior of your trailer after each trip cuts down on bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. It also reduces odors, which can stick around and contaminate future loads. In addition to removing food waste, sweep up any nails, screws or washers left behind from pallets or other shipping materials.
2.) Warm up your unit before hitting the road. Refrigerated units require much more power than traditional semi-trucks. If you’re transporting perishable food on a long haul, let your truck warm up beforehand. Starting the unit 15-20 minutes prior to leaving the loading dock is an easy and effective way to keep your shipment cool.
3.) Schedule routine maintenance. Refrigerated trucks rely on dozens of components to keep food and other perishable items cool. These components are tough and designed for wear and tear, but they aren’t invincible. Schedule all of your refrigerated units for routine inspections and maintenance. Even if everything appears fine, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
By following these simple tips, you can keep your refrigerated trucks in optimal shape for years to come. If you’re an experienced truck driver who’s looking for your next refrigerated gig, contact us. We’re hiring!