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International Forwarding Association Blog » Sea freight in Europe »  Risks for Food Manufacturers during Shipping

 Risks for Food Manufacturers during Shipping

Food manufacturers face multiple risks acossiated with transportation and delivery of ingredients and shipping of final products to chain stores and retailers. Major risks for manufacturers include deterioration due to shipping delays, contamination with fungi and bacteria, damages, spills, and breakages, and sub-optimum conditions during shipping.

Deterioration Due to Delays

Many raw ingredients have a short shelf life, and timely delivery is important to avoid deterioration. Fruits and vegetables go bad quickly, and manufacturers rely on timely delivery. Perishable fruits and vegetables are, for example, tart cherries, strawberries, green beans, and asparagus. Dairy products and bread are also quick to deteriorate due to shipping delays.

Sea freight in Europe


Contamination with Fungi and Bacteria

Fungi and bacteria thrive on food products and may cause contamination and food poisoning /foodborne disease/. Contamination may occur at all stages, including packaging, processing, shipping, and storage and distribution. Chemical contamination is also a health hazard that can result in a range of symptoms and problems, including neurological, renal and hepatic syndromes. To avoid contamination, logistics services providers must follow strict safety and hygiene procedures and ensure that staff is experienced and trained in food safety.

Damages, Breakages, and Spills

Damages, breakages, and spills occur during shipping and may result in significant losses for food manufacturers. Special procedures must be in place during loading, shipping, and unloading to avoid damages.

Transportation of Food Products and Temperature Control

Some products require refrigeration transport and climate-controlled facilities to avoid deterioration and contamination. Products that require air-conditioned storage include fermented vegetables and fish, fish meal, and canned fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish. Avocados, bananas, and some meats require controlled atmosphere while fruits such as plums, pears, and grapes must be shipped chilled. Other types of perishable cargoes must be shipped frozen to avoid rotting and deterioration. These include, for example, farmed salmon, prawns, and shrimps. Some fruits and vegetables are also shipped frozen, including individual quick freezing mushrooms, asparagus, blackberries, and raspberries. During shipping, logistics services providers monitor food products based on indicators such as texture, smell, appearance, and freshness.  They also monitor foods based on product-specific indicators.  For salmon, for instance, such indicators include lack of gapping, texture, lack of blood clots, and pink-colored flesh. There is a host of different factors that can affect quality, color, flavor, and texture. Changes in texture occur in meat due to enzyme activity while oxidation of fats results in changes in flavor. In moist environments, mould is quick to develop and grow on grains.

The transportation of ingredients and food products is a complex and multi-stage process, and members of the freight forwarders association are well aware of this. Shipping begins with storage at the point of origin, loading in refrigerated trucks, and shipping to the container terminal. The next stages are storage of consignments in warehousing facilities, stuffing containers, shipping containers to the terminal for loading onto a feeder ship, and so on until trucks deliver products to the consignee’s warehouse.