Food transportation: legislation and rules

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Among the most delicate goods to be transported is food, whether dry or fresh, special care is needed. Timeliness, ubiquity, and safety are key to transporting food.

For this reason, there is specific legislation that dictates the rules to be followed such as, for example, food transport temperatures or the isothermal container to be used.

Let’s try to bring more clarity to the Food Transportation Regulations (ATP), with an overview of the main rules.

What is ATP (Accord Transport Perissable)?

This is the international standard that defines the conditions under which perishable foods are transported on refrigerated trucks, intended for consumption for human consumption.

Within it are rules that impose precise conditions for the construction of isothermal setups, including the presence of thermal containers for transporting cold food.

But not only that, mandatory directions are placed for the users of the same, covering the different types of food to be transported with controlled temperature and temperatures according to the type of food and duration of transport.

The provisions in the food transport regulations cover goods transported by road and rail and vehicles traveling by both modes.

The Accord Transport Perissable was signed in Geneva in 1970 by the following European states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and Switzerland. Non-European countries such as Russia, Morocco, Kazakhstan and the United States have also joined the agreement legislation.

ATP, the Fresh Food Transportation Regulations, aims to ensure food safety, with solutions that safeguard the wholesomeness and proper preservation of food, with attention to compliance with the cold chain.

How to obtain ATP certification

The certificate for the transportation of perishable foodstuffs is issued by the Ministry of Transport after verification by the relevant offices of the Civil DMV.

Periodic hygiene inspections are carried out by local offices of the Ministry of Health. ATP certification is valid for 6 years from the time of issuance and can be renewed for a total of 12 years, with some exceptions based on the class of the isothermal van.

Driving without an ATP certificate carries fines ranging from a minimum of 38 euros to a maximum of 7,369 euros on European roads.

ATP certification is essential for refrigerated , isothermal and refrigerated vans, these are generally classified into 3 different classes based on their refrigeration capacity:

  • Class A, for temperatures as low as 0°;
  • Class B, for temperatures down to -10°;
  • Class C, for temperatures above -20°.

In addition, all vehicles carrying frozen food must install an approved temperature recorderon board that, collects all data related to food storage. The data must then be kept for at least 12 months.

The European Regulation 852/2004 – “Hygiene Package”

In addition to the ATP, other reference standards for hygiene and safety are contained in the EU regulations of the “Hygiene Package, ” particularly European Regulation 852/2004.

The most important points of this regulation are as follows:

  • Ensure food safety from primary production and throughout the food chain
  • Maintaining the cold chain
  • Business operators must ensure that all stages of food production, processing and distribution meet the hygiene requirements set by the Regulation
  • Loading compartments of vehicles and food transport containers must be cleaned and maintained periodically to avoid possible food contamination.
  • Vehicle loading vai and containers used for food transportation must maintain adequate temperatures and ensure that the temperature can be controlled at all times.

Food temperatures during transport

The aforementioned European legislation gives precise guidelines regarding temperatures to properly store food during transport, during which it is essential that the cold chain be maintained.

The maximum temperatures for the various foods contained in the regulations are:

  • +4°C for pasteurized milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, fresh cheese, butter, cream and cream cheese
  • +7°C for fresh meat (beef, sheep, goat, horse, pork)
  • +4°C for poultry, rabbit, game and meat preparations
  • +3°C for offal
  • +2°C for minced meat and mechanically separated meat
  • +6°C for live lamellibranch edible molluscs and bivalves
  • +4°C for fresh pasta
  • -18°C for frozen/frozen products

For fresh, thawed fishery products, shellfish, cooked and refrigerated crustaceans, the temperature should be close to that of melting ice.

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