Food Logistics

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What is Food Logistics?

Food Logistics is the process of planning, organising and executing the transport, storage and handling of food along the entire supply chain.
It includes all activities that are necessary to ensure that food gets from its point of origin to the end consumer without compromising the quality, freshness and safety of the products.

Requirements in Food Logistics

In order to ensure that food arrives at the customer in optimal condition, a number of requirements must be met, which are discussed in more detail below.

Cool chain:
Especially for perishable goods, maintaining the right temperature during transport is crucial. Special refrigerated transport and refrigeration technologies, such as refrigerated containers or refrigerated vehicles, must be used here.

Food hygiene
Compliance with food hygiene standards is essential to prevent contamination and the development and spread of pathogens. Appropriately trained personnel are needed here to ensure the correct handling of food as well as the regular professional cleaning of transport and storage facilities.

Transport duration:
Especially with slightly sensitive foodstuffs, it is essential to keep the transport duration as short as possible in order not to interrupt the cold chain and to ensure "just-in-time" delivery. This requires efficient planning and organisation of the routes to avoid unnecessary delays.

**Shelf life expiry date
The best-before date (BBD) is of crucial importance in food logistics. The best-before date must be monitored throughout the logistics process and it must be ensured that the products reach the consumer before the best-before date expires.
Compliance with these requirements is of utmost importance to ensure the quality, safety and freshness of the food throughout the entire logistics process.

Retraceability:
According to EC Regulation 178/2002, food must guarantee batch traceability throughout the entire process. It is important that all relevant data and processes along the supply chain are fully traceable.
This includes information about the supplier, the transporter, the storage sites and the parties involved. By keeping this information, recalls or other measures can be carried out quickly and effectively if necessary.

Product storage:
Proper product storage in Food Logistics includes different storage areas, depending on the requirements of the different food products.

The three common storage areas are:
Dry storage:
Dry storage is the right choice when non-perishable foodstuffs are to be stored at room temperature. This includes canned goods, dried fruit, cereal products, coffee, tea or spices.

This should be observed during dry storage: 1.

  1. store products in dry, clean and well ventilated areas to avoid moisture accumulation. 2. avoid direct sunlight as this can affect quality and shelf life.
  2. avoid direct sunlight, as this can affect the quality and shelf life of the products. 3. keep food away from chemicals, detergents and strong odours.
  3. keep food away from chemicals, detergents and strong smelling substances to avoid odour transfer.

Cold storage:
Cold storage is required for perishable foods that require cool storage to preserve quality and freshness. Products such as fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, dairy products and some processed foods fall into this category.

These are the aspects to consider for cold storage: 1.

  1. always keep the storage temperature between 0°C and 4°C to slow down the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms.
  2. observe correct humidity to avoid drying out or excessive moisture. A relative humidity of about 85% is usually recommended. 3.
  3. ensure that the cold chain is maintained during transport and delivery to retail locations.

Freezer storage:
Freezer storage is needed for frozen foods that need to be stored at very low temperatures. This includes, for example, frozen foods, ice cream, fish fillets and other frozen foods.

The following aspects should be observed during frozen storage: 1.

  1. keep storage temperature at -18°C or lower to stop the growth of micro-organisms.
  2. ensure adequate packaging to prevent freezer burn and odour transfer. (Use airtight containers or freezer bags). 3.
  3. organise products so that older products are used first.
  4. check freezer storage regularly for temperature and keep storage area clean to ensure good quality frozen food.
Mike Schubert und Raimund Bergler

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