Safety First: Building a Safe Food and Beverage Supply Chain

December 4, 2023

Safety First: Building a Safe Food and Beverage Supply Chain


Continental Logistics

Food safety is an essential cornerstone in the food and beverage supply chain. Food and beverage shippers must follow both federal regulations and customer expectations for maintaining food supply chain safety. The consequences can be severe, with food spoilage, customer chargebacks, and food-borne consumer illness all adding to the importance of maintaining a safe and transparent food and beverage supply chain.

In the Food and Beverage Supply Chain, Safety Comes First

Food retailers prioritize food supply chain safety. In 2022 alone, they spent $13 billion on technological investments designed to improve employee and supply chain food and beverage handling safety.

Food and beverage shippers face a stringent regulatory landscape that demands intense scrutiny over all aspects of transportation operations. They must innovate and focus on continuous improvement through technology, employee training, and planning to meet regulatory requirements and optimize shipments to improve sustainability. Mishandled food leads to spoilage that can cost a supplier or shipper big time.

No matter where you’re operating, there is a direct correlation between safety best practices and overall success in the food and beverage industry. To build safe operations, shippers must ensure maximum visibility and understanding throughout their entire chain. Shippers who create a transparent and trackable system that promotes safe handling also improve overall operational effectiveness.

Food and Beverage Shippers Face a Challenging Safety Landscape

Shippers moving perishable food and beverages face a set of unique challenges when trying to keep them fresh and safe to consume.

First, they must adhere to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act standards. It’s essential that shippers meet all legal requirements to prevent contamination and uphold industry standards.

Temperature control and hygiene management are top priorities. Perishable foods must remain within product-specific temperature ranges to ensure they retain maximum quality and are safe for consumption. Improper handling or any temperature or humidity excursions during the supply chain journey increase the risks for contamination, spoilage, load rejection, and freight claims.  Employees must comply with safe handling practices and use proper safety gear to prevent contamination that can result in illness for workers or consumers.

The next challenge is meeting the buyers’ arrive-by dates. Most perishable food and beverage items have a short delivery time frame. Typically, manufacturers and buyers agree on must-arrive-by dates. If the goods arrive after that date, the buyer can request a full refund and the costs to the manufacturer will usually be passed on to the shipper.

Finally, shippers should have proactive safety measures that their employees and contractors must follow if anything goes wrong, such as temperature changes or transit delays.

These challenges are manageable. Solid, proactive safety measures and clear shipment traceability throughout your supply chain can help mitigate or prevent excursions altogether.

Building a Safe Food and Beverage Supply Chain: Three Strategies

The challenges are daunting, yet there are proven strategies shippers can use to create and maintain a safe, smooth-running supply chain.

Strategy No. 1: Ensure Regulatory Compliance

The main regulation governing the food and beverage industry is the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). It’s vital that shippers stay up-to-date on regulatory changes and compliance requirements.

Strategy #2: Implement Reliable Temperature Control and Monitoring

Temperature control is one of the key factors in ensuring food safety. Temperature variations during transportation can cause food spoilage and promote the growth of harmful bacteria.

Continental Logistics has advanced temperature monitoring systems that enable shippers to see container temperatures — and get notified if any shipments are near a dangerous temperature — throughout the entire trip.

Strategy #3: Leverage Expert Food and Beverage Transportation Providers

Even for items that don’t require refrigeration, there are standards for the condition of the container and warehouse to ensure cleanliness and safety. That’s why selecting a partner with extensive experience moving food and beverage is incredibly valuable.

Continental Logistics Knows Food and Beverage Shipping

Food and beverage shipping is a whole different ballgame than moving nonperishable goods. When shipping perishable, consumable items, choose a partner with experience in food and beverage supply chains. Continental’s experts have deep knowledge of current regulations and all the necessary steps for moving food items. They specialize in temperature control and in moving especially delicate items like candy and confectionery. Continental has top-quality temperature regulation and tracking tools to ensure that every shipment stays at the correct temperature. Ready to build a safe, efficient food and beverage supply chain? Contact Continental Logistics today.

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