Committed to Shipping and Handling Food Safely
Burris Logistics is going the extra mile when it comes to safe food shipping and handling.
As you may or may not know, September is National Food Safety Education Month. In our industry, safe food handling processes are critical for ensuring safe and quality products from our direct-to-consumer Partners to our temperature-controlled warehouse to your doorstep.
So, we sat down with Corporate Food Safety Manager Justin Straka and General Manager of the Federalsburg DC, William Paskey, to find out how Burris Logistics keeps your food safe.
Q: What measures does Burris Logistics take to ensure the safety of the shipped perishable orders? (Justin)
A: All team members are trained to handle all products entrusted to us with the highest care across all areas of our company. Products are shipped on temperature-controlled trailers that have been inspected to ensure they are clean, safe, and in good working order. Locks and trailer seals are used and verified to ensure products are not tampered with during transport.
Q: Can you discuss the most recent certification obtained by the Federalsburg DC in regard to food safety? (William)
A: Federalsburg was recently awarded the National Organic Program Certificate of Compliance back in May 26, 2022. This certification was required to gain the Perfect Snack e-commerce account as well as the ability to increase the Perfect Snack PRW program. This is our largest customer here at Federalsburg, and we are proud to say we are now organic compliant to keep our customers satisfied and the business growing.
Q: What are the required temperatures for storing perishable food items, and what are the required temperatures for shipping perishable food items? (Justin)
A: Frozen products should be held at or below 0 to -10 degrees F and ice cream will be stored much colder at around -20 degrees F. Remember, the walls of the trailer can radiate heat into the product, causing temperature abuse if the trailer is not pre-cooled properly.
Keep in mind the “danger zone” for food safety is between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, so cooler products need to stay in that sweet spot just below 40 degrees F for storage and transport.
Some ready-to-eat foods, like produce, have different temperature requirements from other cooler products. Most are safe to store between 32 and 40 degrees; however, some products, like bananas for instance, should be stored and shipped around 56 to 58 degrees F to keep from spoiling quickly.
Q: What are some common mistakes made when handling perishable food? (Justin)
1. Do not assume the temperature reading on the trailer accurately reflects the product temperature when receiving. The temperature reading and set point on the trailer is a good first impression but should not be used as the only reference point for correct product temperature. Product temperatures should be taken at the tail, middle, and nose of the trailer from the product itself using a certified thermometer as soon as the first pallet comes off the trailer during receiving.
2. Cross contamination is another big area that people can slip on, especially when it comes to allergen clean-up or handling. When handling an allergen like shrimp during clean-up, for example, all PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that has been directly exposed to an allergen and the cleaning tools used, like the broom and dustpan, must be cleaned thoroughly afterward. There should also be dedicated cleaning utensils for the purpose of allergen clean-up, like a broom that is marked and used for allergen clean-up only, that would not be used for anything else, to prevent cross-contamination.
Q: How does Burris Logistics go above and beyond in our handling of food? (William)
1. Storage temperatures are monitored and recorded continuously, using thermometers that are calibrated by a NIST-certified thermometer or ice water.
2. Deviation of a target storage temperature is immediately reported to the General Manager and Plant Engineer. Should the storage temperature rise above +10 F (frozen) or +40 F (cooler), the customer/owner of any affected product will be notified via email for instructions as to how they would like the deviation handled.
3. Racking is pre-inspected to ensure safe storage of products.
4. Products are never stored near/under unprotected overhead pipes to avoid condensation drips.
5. Damaged products are excluded from shippable products using our WMS.
6. Products are never stored on the floor.
7. Chemicals are never stored above food products.
8. Every week, Justin Straka posts a blog for Team Members regarding a different food safety topic. Through these blogs, his goal is “to grow and improve our food safety culture as a company and bring awareness to what is most important: keeping the food we serve our families safe. All of us play an important role in this process from start to finish or farm to table, as those of us in the food business like to say. Sometimes a little reminder is what we need to stay focused and remember what is truly important. Feeding the world isn’t just a job; it’s an honor.”