Cold chain vulnerabilities obviously receive more attention and scrutiny in the hot summer months, beginning with the trucks and carriers that transport the products from manufacturers to warehouses such as ACS or the end users. As every safe operator knows, summertime is never the time to cut corners in an effort to cut costs when dealing with temperature-controlled food products.
We are seeing a growing trend for manufacturers and shippers placing time & temperature monitoring or recording devices within pallets of their product to guarantee that the correct temperatures have been maintained while in transit. The costs of the monitoring and recording equipment have decreased due to enhanced technology and piggybacking capabilities of other technology (for example GPS and electronic temperature sensing equipment).
Once the product arrives, we utilize calibrated IR guns and probes to check & record the external packaging temperatures. Products received by ACS which exceed our Food Safety Plan temperature criteria and/or customer specifications are immediately reported to our customers with a request for disposition (Accept, Reject, Hold for Verification/Inspection, etc).
Temperatures within our warehouses are monitored and uploaded on 15-minute intervals, and we have equipment which notifies us by telephone and text 24/7 should a condition be detected which may adversely affect the air temperature ranges within the warehouses. We are proactive and want to know before a problem manifests into something major. Our Genesis ammonia monitoring system ensures all refrigerant levels, pressures, and temperatures are maintained within very narrow windows. We also utilize a third-party monitoring company as a backup to our inhouse systems.
Summer brings heat, humidity and power outages. Maintaining below-zero degrees in our freezers and 33-36 degrees in our refrigerated rooms during summer requires 5-10% more energy (higher electric bills-just like home!). We also have to ensure excellent door discipline, scale-free condensers, and constant monitoring. In addition to increased radiant heat, high humidity carries additional heat loads and we need to stay on top constantly to ensure that the products we store remain safe and within customer, USDA, and FDA guidelines.
During these intensely hot summer months, ACS pulls out all the stops to ensure the products that are transported and stored in our warehouses are done so in the safest way possible.
This column is sponsored by Adams Cold Storage, LLC, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers.
BIO: Ben Adams, Jr. is an owner and president of Adams Cold Storage, LLC, in Auburndale. He has been directly involved in citrus production, warehousing, and distribution, as well as state and community support, since 1980. His facility incorporates some 250,000 square feet of multitemperature warehousing, and is AA rated by BRCGS.