Based on past industry experience, I suspect that many in the dairy and ice cream industry are not paying as much attention to security against purposeful product tampering and dangerous contamination as they probably should.
Based on past industry experience, I suspect that many in the dairy and ice cream industry are not paying as much attention to security against purposeful product tampering and dangerous contamination as they probably should. My fear is that it may take some catastrophic event before such security is a high priority for many.
Ironically, with today’s proliferation of economical real-time transportation and distribution management systems and technology, it should be relatively simple for any size company to put a good security system into place using off-the-shelf hardware and technology. In fact, many companies have pieces of such security systems already in use.
As with development of any complex new system or process, probably the most difficult but critical task is to first define exactly what information is required. Is it to be a real-time system and what events are to be captured and documented? In that process you must first identify the event “norms” before identifying exceptions.
For instance, you will be building (or purchasing) a security system that should document and provide the option of real-time alarms or alerts to events outside the norms, such as a manhole cover opening on a raw milk pickup tanker after tanker loading was completed and the loading valve closed and sealed with a security tag. Or an alert that a delivery route or transport was off route or that there was an unauthorized body or trailer door opening between scheduled stops.
Once those determinations are made, it becomes a task of evaluating and tweaking alternatives between inputs from existing systems or the need to look at new technology. Companies currently using routing systems may already have the ability to capture some exceptions but may not have that information in real time.
It’s pretty much a certainty that a comprehensive transport and delivery cargo security system must include GPS location technology to track a vehicle’s adherence to its programmed route and schedule along with its current location at all times. Any deviation from that route would be captured as a low or first-level exception. An unscheduled stop or door opening during a route deviation would likely be considered a real-time alarm event.
It’s also likely that most companies do not currently use remote real-time tracking capability for trailer and body door openings or for the current status of milk tanker manhole lids or loading valves. Tracking is certainly doable and it may even be done as an enhancement for those already using real-time tracking of in-transit refrigeration temperatures.
In order to close the loop on a complete dairy product transport security system, companies using routing systems will need to extend the application of routing systems, GPS and activity sensors to over-the-road transports along with farm pick-up routes. Those not currently using any routing systems will be tackling a larger task but a real-time quality security system will almost certainly require the routing component.
The same can be said for all raw milk pick-up and transport organizations; be they for-hire transportation companies or co-op producer organizations.
The ultimate dairy and ice cream transport security system must also require the same monitoring, documentation and alerts/alarms for the transport of all third-party ingredients and finished product suppliers.
Hopefully I have highlighted the basic tasks, systems and technology for real-time, in-transit product and ingredient tampering or contamination detection alerts and alarms as opposed to prevention. However when and if such a hazardous attempt occurs, I believe those with the best detection systems will less likely to be hit.
Protecting Your Dairy from Catastrophe
September 1, 2010