By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer
In the past year or so, the Indiana State Police has slapped citations on dozens of box trucks carrying “hot loads” headed for restaurants and store shelves in the state.
Capt. L. Wayne Andrews of the ISP’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division told Land Line recently that his officers have discovered several tons of food “deemed unfit for human consumption” through routine inspections.
The majority of the tainted food is being hauled in box trucks with refrigerated units that are either not running or at temperatures well above 41 degrees.
“Our efforts have increased due to the frequency of the complaints on these loads,” Andrews said. “It became hard to ignore.”
He said a cooperative effort between the ISP and the state’s Department of Health offices in the counties has allowed officers to “identify problems with laser temperature sampling, and after our inspections, the health department addresses the safety of the consumables.”
Recently, an ISP Trooper stopped a box truck, registered to U&D Service of Indianapolis, for a routine inspection on Interstate 69. During the inspection, he noticed the reefer unit wasn’t running, but was transporting food products. When the officer checked the temperature, the cargo area was 67 degrees, according to the ISP report.
Approximately 1,500 pounds of food products, including sausage, sour cream and milk, were condemned and taken to a landfill in Randolph County.
OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz, who hauled produce for 29 years before joining the Association’s staff full time in 2006, pointed out that FDA has begun a rulemaking that may regulate food transporters.
“Food security and safety in transportation are coming under increasing scrutiny by regulators and stories like this one will further encourage regulators to act,” Rajkovacz told Land Line on Friday, Sept. 16. “While the vast majority of the industry acts responsibly, the actions of a ‘few bad apples’ can lead to serious illness and death for unsuspecting consumers of improperly transported food products.”
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