Reefer Really dumb questions about reefers, beef, and food safety

Rigjockey

I am don't know.
Supporter
I was at home for the weekend, got home the night before. Another driver came to my house (farm) to take my trailer loaded with pork and leave me his empty trailer.

I went outside and the red light on the reefer unit was flashing. Reefer alternator had gone out and the battery went dead and it failed to restart.

Box temp was 32, set point was 28. No big deal at that point because 40,000 lbs of pork has a lot of thermal mass.

So I jump started the unit off of the truck and ran it back down to 28. Other driver arrived and we put a meter on it and confirmed the alternator was junk.

This was a Sunday and the closest shop that was open was in near-downtown Chicago. So we swapped the alternators from our two trailers ourselves in my driveway. Before we did the swap, we ran it down to zero degrees to buy us some time.

Swap was successful, the alternator was charging, voltage was over 14 without jumper cables, so he took off for Iowa.

When I left home a few days later I had to take a load of shingles with the donor trailer to get me out to the yard so they can put an alternator in it.

That's the kind of thing that we do to save a load because we're the first line of defense. Cargo claims can be expensive.
That is like going above and beyond the call of duty but good on ya's for saving the load.
 

Oxbow

Well-Known Member
Supporter
I guess the only bad story i can tell is, picking up strawberries in Florida, and first stop was Salisbury, NC. 7 or 8 hour drive, 11 am appointment time, only to be refused by the receiver, due to hair growing on the strawberries. Not my fault but yeah , Food lion distribution sucks lol.
I hear tell that a dash of bleach in the trailer will make the fuzz go away.......briefly
 

hidleo

Member
So another question for all of you... Do you think that if food safety testing was faster (let's say finding bad e. coli and salmonella in beef took 20 minutes not 24 hours), that you would wait a lot less at the shippers/processing facilities? Or would everything be the same?
 

ironpony

Professional Pot-Stirrer
Supporter
Hi y'all,

I have some questions for you about transporting beef for a research project. I'd love to hear all of your thoughts and expertise! I'm sorry if these are dumb questions, but I honestly have no clue how this system works and just want to learn more.

Questions:
1) Do you ever have your truck sit at a beef processing plant with the product in your refrigerated trailer waiting for food safety results?
Of course we do. The load isn't ready until its ready, including any safety tests.

And then once those come in, do you drive off?
Once the shipper releases the load, and your driving time is legal, yes.

Or do you only pack your truck only after getting food safety testing results?
[/QUOTE]
The entire process is controlled by the shipper. You drop your trailer, they tell you where its spotted after its all done. Typically, you only interact with the plant security office at large shippers, or the shipping office at smaller packers - usually poultry houses.

2) How does shipping beef work in general?
Depends on the size of the motor carrier, how efficient their load planning/dispatch function is, and whether the meat packer is experiencing problems. The last few years I was with a large carrier, I frequently had little wait, or enough time to complete a legal HOS break.

As an owner/operator with one trailer, I expect a long wait. I also expect to be paid for it.
 

quillcom

Well-Known Member
Good stories in here.

Back when I was still wet behind the ears I use to break seals without thought.

Besides running ltl the guys knew I was picking up more freight.

"Dry goods" like chocolate powder or cheese comfit are loaded up right next to the Black and Decker and I'm given/sealed.

So I get this one TL, finished loading me, gave me the seal, slapped it on and I'm on my merry way.

Long story short, I decided to check the load in transit, broke the seal, got to the receiver....

"Wheres the seal". I broke it. "Can we see the broke seal"

Sure, oops I can't find it anywhere!

Some 6+ hours later the load was finally cleared.

It was a load of cardboard receptacles for Mc Donald's.
 

Michael JT

Well-Known Member
I had to start my refrigeration unit the day before and let it run, blowing into an empty trailer, so it was at -20 F the next morning. Finally got it down to temp, then the load of french fries I was supposed to pick up was 2 degrees over the required USDA mandate for products going to a school lunch program. Shut the unit off and sat the weekend. Sunday night started the unit up again and let it run all night into an empty trailer.
By noon Monday the fries had cooled an additional one degree, after being in the freezer two weeks and the inspector still wouldn't release them. Then the guy with the company that made the fries lost his patience and told the USDA inspector he was out of time to fulfill this contract and they had to be loaded. The inspector gave in and gave his approval to load. I backed up to the dock and swung the doors open in 90 degree heat and all that cold air fell out and I got loaded.
I was an owner/operator at that time and I got nothing for all my wasted time. That's just one story about the horrors of hauling refrigerated freight.
I will never, ever pull a refrigerated trailer again.
 

ironpony

Professional Pot-Stirrer
Supporter
I had to start my refrigeration unit the day before and let it run, blowing into an empty trailer, so it was at -20 F the next morning. Finally got it down to temp, then the load of french fries I was supposed to pick up was 2 degrees over the required USDA mandate for products going to a school lunch program. Shut the unit off and sat the weekend. Sunday night started the unit up again and let it run all night into an empty trailer.
By noon Monday the fries had cooled an additional one degree, after being in the freezer two weeks and the inspector still wouldn't release them. Then the guy with the company that made the fries lost his patience and told the USDA inspector he was out of time to fulfill this contract and they had to be loaded. The inspector gave in and gave his approval to load. I backed up to the dock and swung the doors open in 90 degree heat and all that cold air fell out and I got loaded.
I was an owner/operator at that time and I got nothing for all my wasted time. That's just one story about the horrors of hauling refrigerated freight.
I will never, ever pull a refrigerated trailer again.
So... why in gawd's name didn't you cut bait after the first go? Charge the jerk TONU, and get onto a different load.
 

Michael JT

Well-Known Member
Because I was leased to a company and that's how it worked. I couldn't charge anybody anything and the company didn't have the balls to do it either. This company was pretty much forced dispatch in direct violation of IRS rules too but you either went along with it or went somewhere else. I went somewhere else. That's how things were back then pretty much everywhere.
 

Rigjockey

I am don't know.
Supporter
Way back in my can hauling days I got dispatched to an ice cream factory.
I got a reefer can loaded on a genset chassis. I fire up the reefer and genset and set it to temp and off I go.

Most of the guys at this can place were rookies that got their license through the company (indentured servants).

I get to the ice cream place and meet the shipper guy. He says go park over there with the other 6 company drivers until you get to temp.
I said I am at temp. He looks and says ya you are, back into this door.
I was loaded and away while these other guys were sitting and waiting.

It never occured to any of these guys to start the reefer as soon as it was set on the chassis. They all waited until they got to the shipper. :confused-96:
Hello, we get paid by the can!
 

Electric Chicken

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Way back in my can hauling days I got dispatched to an ice cream factory.
I got a reefer can loaded on a genset chassis. I fire up the reefer and genset and set it to temp and off I go.

Most of the guys at this can place were rookies that got their license through the company (indentured servants).

I get to the ice cream place and meet the shipper guy. He says go park over there with the other 6 company drivers until you get to temp.
I said I am at temp. He looks and says ya you are, back into this door.
I was loaded and away while these other guys were sitting and waiting.

It never occured to any of these guys to start the reefer as soon as it was set on the chassis. They all waited until they got to the shipper. :confused-96:
Hello, we get paid by the can!
Same guys who won't leave a deadly protest because they're out of hours. 😏
 

ironpony

Professional Pot-Stirrer
Supporter
Way back in my can hauling days I got dispatched to an ice cream factory.
I got a reefer can loaded on a genset chassis. I fire up the reefer and genset and set it to temp and off I go.

Most of the guys at this can place were rookies that got their license through the company (indentured servants).

I get to the ice cream place and meet the shipper guy. He says go park over there with the other 6 company drivers until you get to temp.
I said I am at temp. He looks and says ya you are, back into this door.
I was loaded and away while these other guys were sitting and waiting.

It never occured to any of these guys to start the reefer as soon as it was set on the chassis. They all waited until they got to the shipper. :confused-96:
Hello, we get paid by the can!
Yep... either you learn to arrive with a chilled trailer, or your life as a reefer driver is going to be miserable. Even paying for fuel yourself, a few gallons of diesel up front while you're taking a shower is cheap compared to sitting around for hours waiting for the trailer to cool down at the shipper.
 

CMT

Well-Known Member
Supporter
So another question for all of you... Do you think that if food safety testing was faster (let's say finding bad e. coli and salmonella in beef took 20 minutes not 24 hours), that you would wait a lot less at the shippers/processing facilities? Or would everything be the same?
JBS in Omaha sometimes ships their meat before any test results are confirmed. I used to haul out of there & deliver on the east coast. Several times I've gotten a phone call to turn my truck back around because some of the beef on my preloaded trailer was infected. Nice to find out after driving 600-700 miles already. That's the scary reality of how fast meat get turned in a processing plant. Times like that really make you think about the "what ifs" in regards to what people are consuming..
 

Hillbilly Canuck

Well-Known Member
Yep... either you learn to arrive with a chilled trailer, or your life as a reefer driver is going to be miserable. Even paying for fuel yourself, a few gallons of diesel up front while you're taking a shower is cheap compared to sitting around for hours waiting for the trailer to cool down at the shipper.
We have the exact opposite thing. Warming them up in the winter. We usually either leave them run all night or see if someone loading earlier will fire it up on their way by.

I'll be damned if I'm coming in two to three hours early to flip a switch when I'm already coming in between 1 and 5 am. We don't get paid by the hour either!
 

hidleo

Member
JBS in Omaha sometimes ships their meat before any test results are confirmed. I used to haul out of there & deliver on the east coast. Several times I've gotten a phone call to turn my truck back around because some of the beef on my preloaded trailer was infected. Nice to find out after driving 600-700 miles already. That's the scary reality of how fast meat get turned in a processing plant. Times like that really make you think about the "what ifs" in regards to what people are consuming..
Wow wow. So then the trucking company is the one that takes the hit here on your lost time and mileage?
 

ironpony

Professional Pot-Stirrer
Supporter
Wow wow. So then the trucking company is the one that takes the hit here on your lost time and mileage?
JBS and Swift/Monfort are owned by the same Brazilian bazillionaire - who also controls most of the meat packing in Central and South America. Its an incestuous corporate relationship.
 

Duck

Quack
Supporter
JBS and Swift/Monfort are owned by the same Brazilian bazillionaire - who also controls most of the meat packing in Central and South America. I1q
ts an incestuous corporate relationship.
From Wikipedia:

"JBS was initially established as a slaughtering business by rancher José Batista Sobrinho, a rancher in Anápolis, Brazil, in 1953. (The company's name comes from the founder's initials.)"
 

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