New requirements by foodgrade shippers just the tip of the security iceburg

June 1, 2002
TANK CLEANING facilities are now joining carriers in feeling the security measures put into place as a result of the terrorists attacks on the United

TANK CLEANING facilities are now joining carriers in feeling the security measures put into place as a result of the terrorists attacks on the United States last year, particularly by facilities involved in foodgrade products. Shipper standards were high before September 2001, now they are even higher, according to Bob Young of Sani-Wash, Lafayette, Indiana, and Douglas Harmison of Bulkmatic Transport Co, Griffith, Indiana.

Young and Harmison discussed foodgrade security issues at the National Tank Truck Carriers Tank Cleaning Seminar April 15 and April 16 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Tank cleaning facilities and carriers now are required to attach product seals on many areas of tank trailers that were not previously secured. Young said that in 2001 he used a total of 982 seals. By the end of the first quarter in 2002, he had used 3,018. As a supplier of seals to carriers, he provided 20,000 in 2001. By the end of the first quarter 2002, he had provided 40,000.

“We have always sealed trailers, but now we have to record all the seal numbers,” Young said. He pointed out that he has had to develop a check-off list to assure the tank cleaning procedures required by shippers are being followed.

The seal requirements have led to the use of white and orange seals — white to indicate the tank has been cleaned and orange for resealing. White seals go on dome lids, fill lines, hose tubes, discharge caps, hot hoses, and pop-off valves — just to name a few locations. Seal numbers are recorded on the ticket.

“Some shippers want a cable seal,” Harmison added. “A few are thinking about securing the aeration hose and bottom line on dry bulk trailers. Others are requiring some kind of screen to blow product through.”

A lack of standardization among shippers is complicating the situation. Also, more responsibility is being placed on drivers to attach additional seals, fill out additional reports for shippers, and spend more time at customer sites while equipment is inspected at loading and unloading.

Harmison cited one example of a driver having to open both ends of a hose tube so that an end-to-end visual inspection could be conducted.

Furthermore, additional security measures are expected to be put in place in coming months, says Harmison. He noted a program by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for juices and seafood manufacturers, and predicts other food industries will soon be involved, including the tank truck carriage and tank cleaning industries.

The food industry is under a program established in October 2001 to reduce risks. The program, developed nearly 30 years ago for astronauts, is being applied now to seafood and juice. The agency intends to eventually use it for much of the US food supply, according to FDA information.

The program focuses on preventing hazards that could cause food-borne illnesses by applying science-based controls, from raw material to finished products. “Traditionally, industry and regulators have depended on spot-checks of manufacturing conditions and random sampling of final products to ensure safe food,” according to FDA. “This approach, however, tends to be reactive, rather than preventive, and can be less efficient than the new system.”

The program is named Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and has seven principles that apply to food: hazards analysis; critical control point identification; preventive measures with critical limits for each control point; procedures to monitor the critical control points; corrective actions to be taken when monitoring shows that a critical limit has not been met; procedures to verify that the system is working properly; and effective recordkeeping to document the system.