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Validation of Tanker-Truck Sanitation Regimes as Related to the Secure Transportation of Liquid Foods

Start date
2004
End date
2007
Objective
Goals of this study are to evaluate the current state of tanker sanitation procedures and to provide a blue-print for mitigation strategies that will enhance the safety of liquid food products transported in bulk tankers.
More information
Cleanliness of tanker-trucks used to transport liquid foods is an overlooked aspect of food safety and security. This project develops and validates wash protocols used to clean and sanitize tankers that haul liquid foods.

Goals of this study are to evaluate the current state of tanker sanitation procedures and to provide a blue-print for mitigation strategies that will enhance the safety of liquid food products transported in bulk tankers.

Specific study objectives are:

  1. To assess and validate the effectiveness of commercial wash protocols recommended for the food transport industry to control microorganisms and allergenic compounds. The first phase will emphasize evaluation of current wash protocols and recommended wash protocols at tanker wash stations. Based upon these results further testing will be conducted to evaluate possible modifications of wash methods for efficiency enhancement. Phase two will evaluate the sanitary conditions of cleaned tankers allowed to sit idle for up to 4 days. Phase three will evaluate recommended modified protocols using preinoculated tankers.
  2. To produce extension/outreach products and workshops for appropriate stakeholders.
  3. To produce educational products for appropriate stakeholders.

Objective 1: Tanker wash protocols recommended by trade organizations or other sources will be evaluated for effectiveness and modified as needed. Unwashed, empty tankers that have carried appropriate liquid foods will be evaluated at various wash facilities before and after washing. Appropriate information, such as tanker type, identity of prior load, and type of washing equipment at the wash facility, will be recorded. Observations will be conducted on the structural integrity of the tanker exterior, the presence of signage indicating food-grade contents, appearance of spilled product on the exterior, conditions of seals, and documents regarding the history of prior loads. Wash or rinse water from the tanker rear exit port will be sampled using aseptic technique and subjected to analyses for microbial populations and allergen content. Effect of hold time on tanker microflora will be evaluated. This test protocol will investigate the microflora of a clean tanker up to 96 hours after cleaning. The rear valve will be sanitized, opened and the allowed to drain into an aseptic container. Samples will undergo microbial analysis and allergen detection as appropriate. Swabs from various parts of the tanker will be taken and submitted to microbial and ATP analyses. Wash protocols developed above will be contaminated, held for time periods ranging from 0 to 48 hr, and subjected to a tanker-wash protocol. After washing, the tanker will undergo a final rinse and samples collected upon exit from the rear tank valve. Samples will be subjected to appropriate analyses based upon the inoculum used.
Objective 2: Extension/outreach products and workshops for appropriate stakeholders. Extension efforts will focus on integration of research observations with training approaches to enhance security and safety practices at tanker wash stations. Programmatic efforts will include educational/outreach and extension efforts that will help educate stakeholders on effective tanker cleaning methods, use of tamper evidence devices, and sanitation/allergen checks. Outreach efforts will include tanker sanitation workshops, extension publications, and round table discussions.
Objective 3: Educational products for appropriate stakeholders. Information generated from the research efforts of this grant can be immediately incorporated into existing undergraduate and graduate courses such as Food Safety and Sanitation, Citrus Processing Technology, Food Regulations, Advances in Food Microbiology, and Food Quality Assurance. Stand-alone course modules will be developed to provide fundamental knowledge about sanitation regimes for tankers used to transport water-based, oil-based and allergen-containing foods, and also provide practical examples of appropriate washing practices, tamper resistance devices, (proper tagging, tracking and record-keeping) and detection systems for allergens or microorganisms of concern. The complete modules can be utilized for a variety of needs: graduate level special study, flexible content for existing courses, and also in WebCT courses (or other web-based systems) that serve distance learning programs.

Goals of this study are to evaluate the current state of tanker sanitation procedures and to provide a blue-print for mitigation strategies that will enhance the safety of liquid food products transported in bulk tankers. Specific study objectives are: 1. To assess and validate the effectiveness of commercial wash protocols recommended for the food transport industry to control microorganisms and allergenic compounds. The first phase will emphasize evaluation of current wash protocols and recommended wash protocols at tanker wash stations. Based upon these results further testing will be conducted to evaluate possible modifications of wash methods for efficiency enhancement. Phase two will evaluate the sanitary conditions of cleaned tankers allowed to sit idle for up to 4 days. Phase three will evaluate recommended modified protocols using preinoculated tankers. 2. To produce extension/outreach products and workshops for appropriate stakeholders. 3. To produce educational products for appropriate stakeholders. This study was recently funded and activity thus far is limited to protocol development and acquisition of supplies and equipment.

Tanker transport of liquid foods is currently receiving close scrutiny by regulatory and industry officials. Appropriate methods for tanker cleaning and sanitation efforts have not previously been investigated in a comprehensive manner. This study will develop and validate cleaning protocols to ensure that tankers of adequate sanitary quality are used for food transport. The expected impact is a reduction in risk associated with foods moved in bulk quantities in tanker trucks. This will provide a scientific basis for cleaning and sanitizing protocols. The study will also produce extension and education products to relay this information to stakeholders.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
FLA-LAL-04188
Accession number
200003
Categories
Education and Training
Legislation and Regulations
Parasites
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Commodities
Seafood