Supply chain

Liquid food: secure transportation

  • 15/05/23
  • 4 min

Fast delivery! Faced with the transportation of liquid foods that contain fewer and fewer, if any, preservatives or additives, the food industry is constantly having to innovate to meet health safety requirements. Transporting liquid foods now requires specific logistics: a specialist truck that meets safety and hygiene standards and an optimal delivery chain.

fraikin transport alimentaire

Not all food liquids have the same viscosity and therefore cannot be transported under the same conditions. The definition of “food liquids” by the transport industry is only liquids whose viscosity remains constant. Those whose viscosity increases due to agitation (rheo-thickening fluids) are not considered as “food liquids” by the transport industry.

A liquid is considered to be a “food liquid” if its physical property is such that it can be conveyed by a pump in a pipe and circulate according to the different systems used: turbulent, laminar and piston. Milk, wine, fruit juices, oils, vinegar, beer, still or sparkling water, honey and eggs can therefore be considered as food liquids. However, soup with small pieces, for example, cannot be transported in the same way because the movement of solid parts could cause blockages in the pipes during transfer.


Transporting liquid food: hygiene is the watchword

For a means of transport to be suitable for carrying liquid food, it must meet several criteria. Hygiene must of course be impeccable, both inside and out. It must be easy to clean and disinfect and must only be used for transporting foodstuffs. Finally, the transport method must include highly efficient ventilation to maintain the right temperatures for the food liquids being transported. For all these reasons the food tanker is the most suitable means of transporting food liquids.

Applied to the entire food industry, the ISO 22000 standard, which incorporates the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) principles, aims to optimise the safety of foodstuffs. Catering professionals and raw material transporters must therefore follow these measures.

Rémi Paing, Fraikin’s project manager, explains that “in addition to hygiene, there is the principle of securing products, in particular by sealing the various openings of the tank, so that nothing alien can be poured into the tank. A padlock or seal is fitted to the tank hatches and to the discharge systems, so that the liquid food cargo is sealed.”


Food tanks: technical characteristics for transporting liquids

There are several categories of food tankers: those for long-distance journeys and local tankers used for milk collection with pumping and metering systems.

“A tank can be divided into several compartments, as is the case for milk collection, for example, when there is organic milk and non-organic milk. In general, food tanks have a maximum of three compartments, so we call it a multi-compartment tank,” adds Rémi Paing.

For milk collection, the food tankers used are mostly carrier-based. They are equipped with a pumping system and flexible hoses for connection to the farm tanks, as well as devices for complete cleaning.

“It’s a system of internal flushing balls that run through the entire pipe system. Beyond the tank, the pipe network is extremely sensitive to possible bacterial infection, so cleaning the pipes is essential. You have to be very vigilant both at the collection and unloading stages. There are several tanker-specific washing stations in the region,” explains Rémi Paing.

Tankers on semi-trailers can also be used for milk collection in regions with high milk production. They have the same equipment as the carriers.

In terms of capacity, the food tankers can carry from 5,000 to 16,000 litres in three compartments. In the semi-trailer version, the tanks can carry from 25,000 L to 29,500 L for milk collection and from 29,000 L to 35,000 L for long-distance transport. In this configuration, this type of tanker can hold up to 9 different compartments.

In order to maintain the ideal temperature of food liquids, food tanks are made of aluminium or stainless steel. Most of these tanks are insulated and not refrigerated.

In brief

Liquid food cargos require dedicated transport: the tanker is the most suitable for transporting these materials. Depending on the collection and the volume to be transported, liquids are not stored in the same type of food tank.

Tanks can carry different types of liquid food if they are divided into different compartments. The hygiene of the compartments must be irreproachable to guarantee the perfect environment for the transportation of liquid food.

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