CCA's Challenge Group trials new label for perishables in first stage
The trial results were discussed at CCA's AGM and Perishables Meeting in Rome last week, where CCA also announced a new initiative to monitor asparagus consignments across the cool chain
Members of the Cool Chain Association (CCA) Technical Committee Programme have completed the first stage of a project to trial a new label for perishables shipments, driven by Challenge Group. The results were discussed at the CCA's Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Perishables event last week in Rome, Italy, where a launch Risk Management Programme tracking asparagus consignments was also announced.
The label trial, undertaken by handlers and warehouse operators, tested the benefits of using a new label, including details of both commodity and temperature requirements on packaging for perishables shipments between Belgium and Israel over the last three months.
Under current regulations for perishables shipments, the commodity must be indicated on the packaging, but the temperature range is either not indicated or indicated on a second label, potentially leading to temperature deviation errors.
"During both acceptance and storage, the new label helped avoid temperature deviations, as well as avoiding time-consuming activities such as checking documents," said Israel Amsterdamer, Vertical Operations Manager, Challenge Group, who project-managed the trial.
"Feedback from participants was largely positive, but there were concerns around the costs involved in developing the new labels and additional implications related to the revision of the process flow. Challenge Group and CCA see the bigger picture - solving a very real problem, saving costs in the long run, and playing an important part in stopping food loss." Amsterdamer added.
The trial was the first milestone completed under the CCA's Technology Committee Programme, which is part of a broader project to facilitate perishable identification and handling, with the mission to improve quality in the cool supply chain.
"With this trial, we have started a process to explore a solution to a specific problem and we will now move onto the next steps to further align industry best practices and stakeholder needs with international requirements and legislation," said Nicola Caristo, Secretary-General of the CCA and Senior Quality Manager, SkyCell. "CCA is perfectly placed to drive this sort of project because we are a neutral platform involving all stakeholders. We want to move away from a top-down approach and instead encourage collaboration to drive change."
Within the ongoing CCA Risk Management project, the decision to continue with the analysis of different trade lanes and products and in particular with the transportation of asparagus was also announced at the meeting by CCA Board Member Eric Mauroux.
CCA's Risk Management Committee members, who include Able Freight, TIVE, Nature's Pride, SMARTCAE, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will plan and test the movement of asparagus from Peru and the USA to Europe, initially in a virtual environment. This will be followed by a real-time trial, with the results of both trials analyzed to provide practical suggestions for improving the cool chain for asparagus.
"We must free up financial resources, invest, stop asking each other which one of us is going to pay for improvement, and instead look at overall costs and potential gains," said Mauroux. "CCA wants to offer solutions that are workable in the real world and not only theories to be talked about. With this project, we aim to show that it makes sense for stakeholders to invest in order to make gains in terms of shelf life and to reduce wastage."
Delegates at the AGM also heard an update about Board member Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB)'s new research department, which will be able to participate in future CCA projects.
"We have invested in undertaking research in-house to look at improving processes and new ways of doing things," said Lucien Jansen, Chief Executive Officer, PPECB. "For example, we might not know the optimum temperature for transporting a new product variety, so we can undertake research and trials and start to make recommendations for temperature regimes and handling protocols."
CCA member Tive, which specializes in tracking devices, spoke about the benefits of real-time data analytics, and new member Brussels Airport, presented its Perishables Management App. The CCA, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, holds two events a year, with the next scheduled for the 6th of September 2022, in Athens, Greece.