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Healthy Trailer LLC

‘But’ List

4:  BUT: Chemicals are a standard method of sanitizing trailers. Why does Healthy Trailer LLC not accommodate customers that rely on chemicals.


There are two answers to this question:


a) In doing our research,  trailer manufacturers advised not using chemicals to clean and sanitize trailers, and if a carrier did opt for chemical use, warranties may be deemed invalid.  Also, several carriers that we talked to about chemical use told us that they would not use a washout service that included chemicals as part of its sanitization process.


b) There have been questions raised by the industry about chemical use and its overall effect on aluminum floors, sometimes causing flaking and therefore cross contamination risks.  While we were told that chemicals typically used in trailers were at low concentrations and would probably not have the ‘flaking effect’ that concerned us, we decided to find alternative options (UV light) rather than deal with potential effects of chemical use.


5.  BUT: Steam and very hot water are other acceptable methods of sanitizing trailers.  Why has Healthy Trailer LLC not utilized these options.


Actually we did work on a hot water treatment.  But given the length of the trailer and therefore the amount of hot water that was necessary, we felt that maintaining the amount of water needed at a required temperature to kill bacteria was dangerous.


UV light does have risks to people.  But (Healthy Trailer LLC has a few ‘buts’ of its own) we learned about these risks and how to manage them, basically studying UV applications in other industries, and found that we could safely use this technology in trailers.


6:  BUT: There are several automated trailer washing machines on the market.  Why did Healthy Trailer LLC take automation to a new level instead of using a market option?


The market options did not meet Healthy Trailer LLC specifications.  The cleaning process, whether human (pressure washing) or mechanical, needs to be systematic, thorough and designed in such a way that spreading/spraying contamination around a trailer is not adequately cleaning a trailer.  This is difficult to accomplish in a 53’ rectangular cube. This is why our UV process is such an amazing solution to this problem because it is almost impossible to wash without some spray.


Healthy Trailer LLC has a machine that has sets of nozzles that not only spray, but apply more of a soak/rinse (different cycles,) a very robust drying cycle to ensure free water is removed, and then UV.  We chose to eliminate brushes because of the cross contamination risk.


The other problem with market options is that it seemed that they were designed for specific types of customers, having nozzles that only reached a certain level in the trailer, for example. After our testing, we discovered that trailer surfaces were contaminated in several areas of the trailer, including the ceiling, where market machines were not reaching with their nozzles.  We felt that the better answer was to clean all the surfaces, and then dry them so that dripping water could not spread contamination.


And of course, our wonderful UV application at the end is the perfect ‘go to’ solution to sanitize the surfaces.


7. BUT: There are no known cases of a food related disease outbreaks that have been caused by a dirty contaminated trailer. Why is Healthy Trailer LLC assuming that, without this data, the industry needs this level of clean and sanitary?


There is a basic problem with using this rationale to argue against making sure a food transport trailer, especially a fresh produce trailer, is properly cleaned.  


Healthy Trailer LLC has two responses.


First, the STR does NOT say, ‘until we prove that a dirty trailer has caused an outbreak, you don’t need to be overly cautious about how best to clean your trailer.’  The rule is now official, and the expectation is a reality. As mentioned in But 1, FSMA’s STR rule was written to complete the supply chain food safety requirements for ALL members of the supply chain, not just those who believe that there may be a risk associated with a dirty trailer.


Also, the absence of data does not prove that it has not happened.  As we began to work on Healthy Trailer LLC, we found many food safety experts who acknowledged that this is an area that needs attention (data and research.)  We knew we were headed into uncharted waters, but with support and confirmation from these professionals, we were confident that with time, the industry would seek out solid science to support their food safety programs.


8. BUT: This seems like such a lengthy process. Why, at this time when regulations such as the ELD requirement are already creating havoc in the industry, why would Healthy Trailer LLC think that people would be willing to try it and risk running afoul of hours-of-service rules?

This is a great question!  My answer is...BUT, you are already letting your trucks sit at the washout (we are reservation based) and, our process takes about the same time (and sometimes less) than the normal, hand done washouts

Try us out before you make a decision.


9. BUT: This is not really a ‘but’ but it is well worth discussing.

Healthy Trailer LLC is on a mission to be a part of the overall improvement of industry related areas of food safety concerns.  Our technicians are trained, not only to identify issues in a trailer, but also, to help drivers do their best in this new area of regulation.  Why not use a trailer cleaning service that sends your trailer away clean, with a certificate and seal, and your driver better prepared for his or her role in complying with YOUR food safety plan?


10. BUT: This is not a ‘but’ either, but it needs to be said.

In almost all the materials I (Pam) read, the webinars I heard, and the people that I talked to, the number one recommendation to people who now need to comply with the STR was that this rule requires people to be proactive.  Your procedures do not have to be perfect, but you have to understand that you know there is a rule that you applies to your company, that you know how it applies, and that you are making a good faith effort to comply.

If you end up in court, defending your actions and your decisions, you stand on much stronger ground when you can show that when a better ‘best practice’ was available, you used it in your organization.  

And your brand building efforts?  

Here is something to think about:  

Almost every time we shared with a ‘regular’ consumer, the person buying your product or the product riding on your trailer, the response was overwhelmingly positive.  People want to know that their fresh produce is protected, and when we mention that we are part of the transportation piece, they realize that there are other things that happen in getting fresh produce to market besides growing, shipping and selling it in a store.

Your end customers are counting on you to make the best choice, even down to the ‘clean’ details.  

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