Food transportation

How to organise

In the guide you will find:

Food transport is one of the most demanding areas of transport. This is primarily influenced by the exacting standards, as well as the large variety of products that together we can define as food. The risks are also much higher than for other loads - if the goods are damaged, we risk not only material losses, but also the health of future consumers.

Methods of transporting food by land

The transport of food by land is an important segment of logistics and requires strict adherence to standards and regulations to ensure the safety of food products.

Independent transport

Many food producers have their own fleet of vehicles to transport their products. This means that they have full control over the delivery process, but also requires them to have the right equipment, personnel and to meet all legal requirements and quality standards.

External transport companies

Many producers choose to use transport companies that specialise in food transportation. These companies have the right equipment, knowledge and experience in transporting food products.

Vehicles used for food transport

Refrigerated trailers

These vehicles are essential for transporting foodstuffs that require low temperatures, such as meat, dairy products and frozen foodstuffs. They allow a constant low temperature to be maintained throughout transport, guaranteeing the freshness and quality of the product.

Isothermal vehicles

These are vehicles that maintain a constant temperature inside the load compartment, but do not have the option of active refrigeration. They are suitable for products that require a stable temperature, but not necessarily a very low temperature.

Dry freight vehicles

Standard trucks used for transporting foodstuffs that do not require special temperature conditions. Examples include dry products such as flour, sugar or canned goods.

Liquid transport vehicles

Special tankers designed to transport liquid foodstuffs such as milk, oils or juices.

What requirements must be met by a food transport provider?

First of all, the vehicles he uses to transport food must be approved by the District Sanitary Inspectorate and, if he plans to transport meat or animal products, registered with the Chief Veterinary Inspectorate. The driver should also have a current sanitary booklet. In addition, all products of animal origin should be registered with the district veterinarian.

The vehicle in which he transports food products must, of course, be in good working order and thoroughly cleaned after each transport. If it is a refrigerated truck, it must additionally have a system that monitors and records the temperature in the room where the cargo is stored. The reason for this is that the temperature must be maintained at the right level throughout transport (maintaining the so-called 'cold chain') - defrosted and refrozen products are just as dangerous to health as those stored at inappropriate temperatures.

Additional restrictions also apply to vehicles transporting materials of plant origin - loose (e.g. grain) and liquids:

- transport at temperatures below 0 is not required, but it is necessary to protect the products from external contamination (pests or weather)

- the vehicle in which such products are transported should be used exclusively for the transport of foodstuffs

- the vehicle in which such products are transported must be visibly and indelibly marked as a food vehicle.

Legal basis for the transport of foodstuffs

The carriage of food is strictly regulated in many countries due to the need to ensure consumer safety. In Poland, as in other countries of the European Union, there are many regulations concerning food transport. Below is an overview of the basic legal acts and rules related to the carriage of food:

Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002.

Establishes the general principles and requirements of food law, food safety procedures. Defines basic concepts such as "foodstuff" and "food business operator".

Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004.

Concerns the hygiene of foodstuffs. Sets out hygiene requirements for food businesses at each stage of production, processing and distribution.

Contains requirements for the transport of foodstuffs, including conditions for vehicles, maintenance of appropriate temperatures and cleanliness.

Key principles of food transport from a legal perspective:

Maintaining the cold chain

For many food products, it is necessary to maintain a certain temperature during transport.

Hygiene and cleanliness

Vehicles and containers used for transport must be clean and free of pests. Regular disinfection is key.

Appropriate labelling and documentation

All food products must be properly labelled and their transport must be carefully documented.

Therefore, it is important to be thoroughly familiar with the applicable regulations and requirements before transporting food and, if in doubt, it is worth consulting food law experts or the relevant food regulatory authorities.


Who is responsible for the incorrect transport of food products?

The transport provider is responsible for the correct transport of food. In practice, however, it is primarily in the producer's interest to provide consumers with high-quality and safe food. It is therefore important, when ordering transport, to specify exactly what conditions should be met during transport and what procedures must be followed in the event of problems along the route (accident, diversions, unexpected stop etc.). It is important to remember that the conditions under which food must be transported concern not only the interior of the vehicle but also the loading and unloading area.