Milk is one of the staples of the kitchen and many people take their milk supply for granted. When people buy milk from the grocery store and place it in the fridge, they probably don’t think about the amount of work that goes into placing the milk into that bottle and getting it where it needs to go. In reality, milk takes a long journey as it travels from the cows to the refrigerator. For those who work in liquid food transport, it is important to pause and consider the various steps that unfold along the way. They play an important role in the quality of the final product.
The Production of Milk
On the long journey of milk to the kitchen table, the first stop is the farm. Specifically, milk starts on a dairy farm. When it comes to making milk, there are a lot of factors that play a role. These include the management of the facility, the health of the cowherd, the food they eat, the milking parlour, and sanitation from top to bottom. All of this impacts the quality and quantity of the milk that is produced. The top priority is always animal welfare. The fact is that healthier cows produce healthier milk. This is why the vast majority of dairy farmers stick to the regulations that have been put in place by the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible (FARM) Program.
For example, dairy cows need to receive regular veterinary care. This includes preventative vaccines, periodic checkups, and rapid treatment for any health problems that might arise. Contrary to the personal opinions of many, dairy cows actually are not routinely treated with antibiotics. They are only treated with antibiotics while sick, just like a child. Furthermore, these antibiotics are given under the supervision of a vet and according to FDA Regulations.
Every tanker of milk is tested for antibiotics. If it tests positive, the milk is disposed of and it does not reach the public. Furthermore, the farmer is held liable if any antibiotics are detected.
The Liquid Transport of Milk
When it comes time to transport the milk, there is equipment on the dairy farm that pumps milk from the milking cows and into a storage tank that is refrigerated. There, it is cooled to ensure it maintains both safety and freshness. One interesting point is that from farm to table the milk never touches the hands of a person. This is one of the best ways to maintain the safety of the final product.
Once the tanker is full, it is transported by trained professionals who ensure that truck remains both insulated and sealed. While some tanker trucks are filled up by a single farm, other tankers collect milk from multiple farms. It is important for the drivers to communicate with dairy farmers to make sure their pickup times are optimized. The faster the milk reaches the supplier, the lower the costs. This also means less gas, which is better for the environment.
Dairy farmers try to have tankers arrive when their storage capacity is nearly full. With the size of tankers increasing, many dairy farmers are starting to coordinate their pickup times. Of course, all milk is tested for antibiotics when the truck arrives. With the advances made in the computer field, many farms and drivers are starting to leverage the power of computers to optimize their routes and shorten their farm to table delivery times. This means that the general public is likely drinking milk that was only harvested a few days ago!
Government Regulations of Milk Transportation
One of the biggest challenges in the dairy transportation industry is the governmental regulations that dictate how milk is transported. The most significant issues include the consecutive on-duty hours a driver can log and the weight limits of the milk transportation trucks. In order to keep everyone safe on the road, there are strict regulations in place that dictate how many hours a driver can work consecutively. These regulations are put into place by the Department of Transportation. Therefore, the efficiency of milk loading and unloading can impact whether or not a driver can finish his or her route. Sometimes, two drivers are needed. One driver assembles the milk and the other gets it to the final destination.
Vehicle weight limits are another key issue for milk trucking companies. Drivers who cross state lines are often faced with different weight limits from place to place during the milk transport process. This means that gross vehicle weight violations can stem from inconsistencies and the last thing milk transportation companies want is to have their milk impounded.
At Freightlinxs, it is our goal to facilitate the transportation of liquid food, including milk. Our trained professionals will ensure that all product arrives at its final destination safely while complying with all regulations. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!