Ben Adams, Jr.

Seal Discipline Is Key to Food Safety

Sometimes it can be the simplest things that provide the highest form of protection when it comes to food safety.
Ever since the Tylenol scare of 1982, there has been an increasing awareness of food safety in all parts of the process: from the sourcing of raw materials, to manufacturing, to transport and storage. Then came 9/11. Today, we contend with the possibilities of sabotage and intentional contamination, as well as agriterrorism and bioterrorism through our food supply.

We at Adams Cold Storage join with the community of food producers, processors, grocers and distributors to take every reasonable measure to protect the lives of people we serve. The first reasonable measure is a simple seal. 

Whether it’s a 17-cent aluminum tamper-evident seal or a $35 high-security double-rod lock seal, a simple seal affixed to a trailer door is the first line of defense in the transport and delivery of food by tractor trailer or international shipping containers. Seal discipline is a key factor in our Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), and Hazard Analysis Risk Prevention Controls (HARPC) Plans. And seals deter theft.

There are two things that are key for us in our HACCP:

  1. That there is a seal on the trailer, and
  2. That the seal has a unique number and that number is recorded on the bill of lading.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? And it is, when it works. 

However, when one of those two conditions are not met, it triggers a thorough tracking process that ends with the shipper either authorizing acceptance, or rejecting the trailer and not accepting the goods into our facility until the contents are inspected by the USDA.

This tracking process can take 30-60 minutes, involving a bunch of people and a flurry of emails — and those minutes and that flurry adds up to lost time, lower productivity and efficiency for us as well as the shipper. But it is worth it.

The seal is the deal. It is the shipper’s protection and our bond that what we receive at ACS is the identical count and quality product that was shipped. And that has been our goal since day one.


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