Cold chain logistics regulations are a big part of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Not properly following cold chain regulations could result in fines, penalties, rejected loads, and wasted products. Perhaps the most critical component of the cold chain is the safe transport of products from one point to another.
With every stop a load of products makes, the risk of contamination and spoilage increases as products are introduced to new environments and exposed to changing temperatures. Minimizing the handling of pallets and their movement from one space to another helps manage these issues. Plastic shipping pallets can further support the safe transport of products by providing easy-to-clean, sanitizable pallet decks and RFID tracking features.
The Basics of FSMA’s Cold Chain Logistics Regulations
The majority of cold chain logistics regulations stem from the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. The act gave the Food and Drug Administration a lot more authority over product handling and transportation from the producer to the retailer to the consumer. A lot of the cold chain regulations covered by this act are found in the section that governs the sanitary transportation of food designed for either human or animal consumption. Specifically, the Sanitary Transportation Rule covers:
- Cleanliness and function of equipment: This section mandates regular auditing of equipment—especially refrigeration equipment—to ensure it’s operational and capable of staying at the correct temperature. Also, it establishes requirements for cleaning trucks, pallets, and other pieces of equipment between loads to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination.
- Transportation protocols: The protocols section centers on regulations for product handling during transport, including basic practices like requiring employees to wear gloves or check the temperature of loads on individual pallets regularly. It also covers timing, requiring that vehicles reach their destination in a reasonable time frame in order to protect the safety of temperature-sensitive products.
- Training: Employees must be trained on the safe and proper handling of food to protect the integrity of the cold chain. The FDA provides a free training course for certifying these individuals, though it’s not required and supply chain managers are welcome to develop their own. As long as workers recognize their responsibility in food integrity protection and are able to identify food safety hazards and describe ways to resolve potential issues, then the training program is suitable for meeting this standard.
- Records: All of the above provisions require a paper trail. Managers must have records of how their equipment is maintained, how pallets of food are handled, and how employees are trained to stay in compliance with these regulations.
A high-quality plastic pallet can make the difference between an intact cold chain and a broken one.
The provisions of the Sanitary Transportation Rule are a critical aspect of cold chain logistics regulations as they apply to the management of temperature-sensitive products during travel—which is generally the portion of the cold chain most likely to experience a failure. Pallets play a central role in transporting products, and a high-quality plastic pallet can make the difference between an intact cold chain and a broken one.
How Plastic Pallets Support the Cold Chain’s Integrity
Plastic pallets can be a vital part of complying with cold chain logistics regulations and best practices. These platforms help in meeting food hygiene regulations, managing food handling protocols, and keeping track of shipments for record-keeping purposes. The right plastic pallet can:
- Simplify cleaning: Plastic pallets have non-porous surfaces that are easy to clean after use. They hold up to power washing, and, when properly maintained, don’t provide an environment for bacteria or mold.
- Offer lightweight handling: Plastic pallets, on average, weigh less than 50 pounds. This guarantees they will weigh significantly less than a standard reusable wood block pallet and makes it easier for employees to maneuver them in order to clean them thoroughly and complete required inspections and temperature checks.
- Provide detailed tracking: Many plastic pallets are embedded with RFID tags that can be instantly scanned—no line-of-sight necessary—to preserve a log of when the pallets were unloaded or when they left a facility. This simplifies the process of staying compliant with recordkeeping requirements.
Supply chain managers can simplify compliance by switching to plastic pallets.
Cold chain logistics regulations may seem overwhelming, especially those that apply to the transport of goods from one place to another. Supply chain managers can simplify compliance by switching to plastic pallets, which offer greater ease of use, cleanliness, and tracking capabilities than wood pallets. With the benefits of a sturdier, safer pallet, managers can tackle every cold chain regulation, no matter how big or small, and save money as well.
iGPS plastic pallets help managers comply with cold chain logistics regulations by providing a sanitary, trackable platform for carrying products. To learn more about the benefits of our pallets, contact us at 1-800-884-0225, email a specialist at [email protected], or visit our contact page.