Healthy Trailer LLC offers a trailer sanitation service that helps carriers meet Food Safety Modernization Act rules, and says it has scientific testing to prove it works.
Trailer sanitation in the food transport industry is increasingly becoming a topic of food safety conversations as fresh produce suppliers and receivers begin to take a serious look at the supply chain -- not only to meet FSMA's Sanitary Transportation Rule, but also because consumers have expectations that their fresh produce is traveling in clean trailers.
A survey of Healthy Trailer's customers found that 40% of food transporters do not systematically clean trailers or monitor sanitation procedures. Even when trailers are cleaned in between shipments, contends the company, simple methods such as sweeps, water, or even harsh chemical washes aren't enough.
Water washes leave moisture, which creates breeding grounds for bacterial growth. Chemicals can damage trailers and leave behind residue, without fully removing dangerous microbes.
Launched in 2018, Healthy Trailer LLC developed a system based on established best practices and technologies used in healthcare and other food industries. The resulting interior trailer cleaning service uses a three-step process that begins with a chemical-free automated cleaning cycle using multiple spray bars, followed by a forced-air dry cycle, and finishes with a UV treatment engineered for Healthy Trailer by UV sanitation experts to kill dangerous human pathogens that can collect on food trailer surfaces. Healthy Trailer provides each customer with a Healthy Trailer Clean certificate that can be used to meet FSMA’s documentation requirements.
To demonstrate its effectiveness, the company worked with Lighthouse Food Quality and Safety, and this fall completed the first phase of a third-party verification of its patent-pending trailer-cleaning process.
The microbial evaluation was done to establish the levels of microbial population and to demonstrate that the Healthy Trailer process effectively reduced that microbial load.
The results revealed that both field trailers used to transport fresh field produce from farm to processing plant, as well as the over-the-road, long-haul trailers delivering produce to food service, retail and wholesale businesses, do contain varying levels of microbial population.
After collecting test samples before and after the cleaning process, the data demonstrates that the Healthy Trailer process does reduce microbial levels, according to the company.