Ben Adams, Jr.

A tale of the cold chain when broken

DURING THE YEAR, we’ve summarized the importance of establishing and maintaining an effective cold chain to ensure food safety/food defense.

Recently, ACS was successful in preventing 40,000 pounds of imported, unsafe frozen seafood from entering the marketplace. The seafood was packed frozen in Canada, loaded onto a refrigerated carrier with written bill of lading instructions to maintain the trailer temperature at minus-10 degrees, and successfully cleared customs at the U.S. border. Five days later, the truck arrived at ACS.

Following established in-house procedures, we noted that the unit setting at the time of arrival was 0 degrees and not minus-10. Unloading began after verification of door seals, and the warehousemen took interval case temperatures using infrared thermometers as the pallets were being unloaded. Temperatures varied between plus-5 and plus-22 degrees. The ACS warehouse manager discovered ice glazing. The customer was immediately notified, and a government inspector was dispatched.

The product had warmed enough during transit to allow for condensation and then was refrozen at some juncture prior to arrival at ACS. For this $200,000 load, the cold chain had been broken.

The cases were subsequently inspected and tested by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the seafood was deemed unfit for human consumption. ACS had done its job, the customer was extremely appreciative, and tainted product never hit the market. Common sense, training, and technology worked together.


column by BEN ADAMS, JR.

BIO: Ben Adams, Jr. is an owner and president of Adams Cold Storage, LLC. He has been directly involved in citrus production, warehousing and distribution, as well as state and community support since 1980. His current facility incorporates 200,000 square feet of multitemperature warehousing, with an extensive expansion plan on the horizon.

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