Transportation Industry Should Expect To See New Safety Rules

Expert says the hazards of producing food gets a lot more regulatory scrutiny, but transport also poses a food safety and theft risk.

According to Lance Reeve, a security expert with AIB International, transportation companies involved in the food and beverage industries need to be paying attention to more than just what could be new food safety rules for shippers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this Spring. Speaking at a recent Northwest Food Processors Association conference in Portland, Reeve said the hazards of producing food gets a lot of regulatory scrutiny, but the transport of food also poses a big food safety risk and pose an even bigger danger for theft as well.

Food and beverages are the most common types of cargo stolen in transit, Reeve said. About 27 percent of cargo thefts involve food and beverages, compared to 14 percent for electronics, the next most frequently stolen type of cargo.

“Organized crime is in the food industry now,” said Reeve. "Food is easy to resell but much harder to track than electronics and other high-value goods. The relatively short shelf life of many food products thwarts the possibility of long-term investigations."

"In some cases, organized crime groups pose as trucking companies, offer attractive prices for shipping and then drive off with the cargo," said Reeve. "In other cases, thieves simply steal the entire truck. Not only food, but transport vehicles are a very high target in this country.”

Reeve added that companies should be aware of internal threats, like employees who show an unusual interest in security measures, have poor financial conduct or suffer from addiction. To prevent hijacking, truckers should be required to travel on established routes, park in safe areas and not stop for stranded motorists.He also added that technology can greatly improve the enforceability of such requirements, now that global positioning systems can provide alerts when drivers deviate from routes or open the trailer without authorization.

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