Foodborne Illness Can Cost a Food Shipper MILLIONS! Unless…

A top US food safety law firm has won judgments in excess of $650 million for clients stricken by foodborne illnesses like Salmonella against giant brands like Cargill, ConAgra, Taco Bell, Subway, Walmart and others.  And that is just one law firm!  The amount of money you could be liable to cough up as a food shipper when the finger of blame is pointed at you will make you sick too!

The same law firm is currently representing hundreds of plaintiffs across 36 states recently infected with E. coli resulting in at least 5 deaths and traced back to lettuce grown in Yuma, AZ.  If I were a food producer/shipper, I’d be sitting up and taking notice – looking for ways to inoculate my organization from such costly litigation and the untold costs of being implicated in deaths and illnesses of unsuspecting consumers.

Tracking the sources of foodborne illness is a slippery task with all those involved – growers, distributors, food shippers/carriers, markets and restaurants – prone to pointing fingers away from their own culpability.  Yet, tracking the temperature of food product in transit has never been easier and having the technology to do it provides the shipper/carrier with solid evidence they can use to prove contamination/spoilage happened outside of their involvement between the farm and the point of sale.


When an outbreak occurs like the current E.coli cases, a food shipper using this technology can provide concrete evidence and records proving the contamination did not occur while the shipment was in their custody. 


The best way to avoid food spoilage or contamination while in transit is to be able to closely monitor the temperatures of the transport refrigeration units TRU as the load moves from point to point.  Until recently, shippers relied on temp checks conveyed through carrier check calls.  However, the frequency of these check calls and the inconsistency of the readings provided by drivers enroute was not particularly effective.

Enter UltraShipTMS with FourKites-enabled temperature tracking capability.  The combined technologies of these two leading logistics IT solution providers allow a shipper to automatically check the TRU temperature at much more timely intervals.  As often as every few minutes (although that is probably overkill).  With this on-demand temperature tracking capability built right into the TMS, transportation planners can even receive warning messages as soon as shipment temperature falls outside of appropriate thresholds so that the driver can be immediately alerted before the product spends any time outside of proper holding temps.  See this simple infographic illustrating how it works and complete the form to take a product demo.

When an outbreak occurs like the current E.coli cases, a food shipper using this technology can provide concrete evidence and records proving the contamination did not occur while the shipment was in their custody.  The expense of a single truckload of spoiled product often outweighs the cost of engaging this real-time temperature tracking solution.  The expense avoided in terms of reputational/brand damage to companies implicated in sicknesses and deaths far outweigh the cost of implementing and maintaining a cloud-based TMS platform like UltraShipTMS.

There are other benefits to be gained by engaging real-time temp tracking as well.  Some of the leading benefits were discussed in this earlier post from the Collaborator blog.