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Protecting Perishable Foods During Transport by Truck or Rail

Jeffrey K. Brecht, Steven A. Sargent, Patrick E. Brecht, Jorge Saenz, and Leonard Rodowick

This is a revision of handbook No. 669, last revised in 1995, which was itself a revision of the 1987 handbook. Handbook No. 669 superseded Agriculture Handbook No. 105, Protecting Perishable Foods During Transport by Motortruck, first published in 1956 and revised in 1970.

The importance of protecting perishable foods from loss of quality during transport has long been recognized. Increased recognition of the importance of the transport link in the food distribution cold chain in securing the safety of perishable foods has more recently become as well recognized. Thus, an updated version of this handbook has been long overdue, addressing both the advances in technology and the importance of food safety considerations in the transport of perishable foods.

This updated edition reflects the dynamic changes and innovations in the handling and transportation of perishable foods. Some of these include improved insulation and air movement, microprocessors for more efficient refrigeration, expert systems to control the transport environment and conserve fuel energy, and the use of telematics to monitor and control the performance of refrigerated vehicles during transit. This edition includes descriptions and recommendations for food transported over the road and by rail in marine containers, as well as in railcars.

204 pp., 13.2 MB

Figure 1. Protecting Perishable Foods During Transport by Truck and Rail cover
Figure 1.  Protecting Perishable Foods During Transport by Truck and Rail cover



I. Important Factors in Protection of Perishable Foods

II. Preparation for Loading

III. Loading and Unloading Considerations

IV. Loading (Stowage) Patterns

V. Individual Commodity Requirements

VI. Regulatory Considerations for Truck Construction Materials, Cleaning Compounds, and Sanitation

VII. Food Safety Considerations for Transporting Perishable Foods by Truck


Selected Bibliography

Other Resources

This report is the proprietary work product of the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies and opinions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Publication #HS1328

Release Date:April 26, 2019

Reviewed At:January 5, 2023

Related Experts

Sargent, Steven A.


University of Florida

Brecht, Jeffrey K.


University of Florida

The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. UF/IFAS does not guarantee or warranty the products named, and references to them in this publication do not signify our approval to the exclusion of other products of suitable composition.

Fact Sheet

About this Publication

This document is HS1328, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date April 2019. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Jeffrey K. Brecht, professor; Steven A. Sargent, professor, Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611; Patrick E. Brecht, president, PEB Commodities, Inc., Petaluma, CA; Jorge Saenz, president, Wireless Data Solutions, Weston, FL; and Leonard Rodowick, strategic relations — Food Safety & OEM, Thermo King Corporation, Nixa, MO.


  • Jeffrey Brecht