The Juice Products Association (JPA), Washington, D.C., and other key juice industry stakeholders, including the Florida Citrus Processors Association (FCPA), are quick to boast about the JPA Model Tanker Wash Guidelines for the Fruit Juice Industry they developed collaboratively for tankers hauling juice and juice beverages.
The JPA membership includes processors, packers, extractors, brokers, and marketers of fruit or vegetable juices, drinks, or bases, as well as industry suppliers and food testing laboratories, according Patricia Faison, JPA’s technical director.
“Our JPA manufacturers represent more than 80 percent of the U.S. volume of juice and fruit beverage production,” Faison says. “We also have member companies in Canada, Mexico, China, and Latin America. JPA also includes firms engaged in futures trading on behalf of JPA processor members.”
Based on HACCP
“The guidelines, also known as the Tanker Wash Code of Practice, first published in 2002 and updated in February 2019, define terms, describe wash protocols in terms of the most recently hauled product type, and include a list of acceptable food materials that may be transported by food-grade tankers,” Faison relates, noting that Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point principles are the basis for the guidelines.
Faison points out that in April 2016, the FDA published the final rule, “Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food,” as mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FSMA regulations “establish requirements for shippers, loaders, carriers by motor vehicle and rail vehicle, and receivers engaged in the transportation of food, including food for animals, to use sanitary transportation practices to ensure the safety of the food they transport.”
“The JPA Tanker Wash Guidelines assist with this mandate by detailing cleaning procedures, training practices, documentation, and security measures for the bulk transport of juice products,” Faison says.
Electronic Wash Tickets
The most recent version of the guidelines (previously revised in January 2017) recognize that new technology, namely electronic wash tickets, are now being used by the tanker wash industry. “Electronic signatures on such documents are acceptable provided security measures are implemented,” Faison explains.
Specifically, four types of required tanker washing protocols are stipulated in the guidelines, Faison notes. Type 1 pertains to a customer specified potable water rinse between loads of the same product. Type 2 is relevant to tankers previously hauling water-based food products. Type 3 is for tankers hauling water and oil mixtures, oil-based products, and products containing allergens. Type 5 stipulates cleaning requirements after hauling wine vinegar or wine alcohol (made from grapes).
Standardized Audits for Wash Facilities
In an effort to provide a standard method for auditing tanker wash facilities, members of the FCPA developed a program for implementation using the JPA Tanker Wash Guidelines, Faison says. “The audit program subsequently transitioned to the JPA, which administers the program and maintains the JPA Tanker Wash website, a resource for the juice transportation industry,” she points out.
Key elements of this voluntary audit program, that dates to 2002, are the standardized audit form, standardized audit protocols, a list of participating audit firms, and a list of successfully audited washing facilities. “JPA urges those facilities that are interested in participating in the audit program to review the Tanker Wash Audit Checklist prior to scheduling an audit so they can assess whether the requirements can be met,” Faison says.
“Currently there are 45 tanker wash facilities that participate in the audit program, located in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico,” Faison relates, adding that tanker wash facilities that participate in the audit program are not required to be members of JPA.
“It is imperative that the equipment and supplies used to clean and sanitize food-grade tankers be dedicated to food-grade tankers,” Faison emphasizes. “The construction of facilities must not allow any cross-contamination, actively or passively. Personnel must be trained and qualified to apply standardized protocols, and to understand the regulatory and conceptual requirements of proper tanker washing protocols. Moreover, management must be dedicated to addressing food safety and food security issues, as well as compliance with regulatory requirements. Our audit program addresses all of these issues.”
Participating tanker washing/sanitation facilities are required to obtain successful audits at least every twelve months. Such facilities must achieve a “Meets Requirements” or “Meets Requirements with Conditions” rating when using the standardized audit process.
“The use of the audit firms and standardized audits minimizes audit redundancy by multiple juice and beverage companies,” Faison relates. “Moreover, we believe standardized protocols for washing tankers and wash facility auditing, coupled with voluntary industry compliance with these programs, are keys for our members to meet regulatory requirements for safe juice and beverage transportation. These programs are identified by both state and federal regulatory agencies as effective mechanisms that provide the necessary oversight for monitoring safe liquid foods transportation.”
Kosher Compliance Requirements
Faison mentions that, while kosher requirements were not originally considered during the development of the JPA Tanker Wash Code of Practice, guidelines for kosher compliance are now provided. “The JPA is dedicated to insuring the quality and safety of all products produced by our members, including those that market kosher products,” she emphasizes. “To that end, it is the belief of JPA that the Type 2 and Type 3 washes outlined in the guidelines facilitate compliance with kosher law and result in a clean tanker that meets the kosher requirements.”
There are several requirements to ensure a kosher tanker, Faison says, one being that no animal-based products can be hauled except dairy. Another requirement is that the product hauled must not be heated.
“Juice and juice concentrates are transported at ambient or chilled temperatures,” she explains. “JPA consulted with several rabbinical organizations and they confirmed that juice and juice concentrates hauled using equipment cleaned under the JPA Tanker Wash Guidelines, and certified by a rabbinic representative, will be kosher upon arrival at the plant. These rabbinical organizations reviewed the guidelines and made one revision, which requires a Type 5 wash for cleaning tankers that haul wine vinegar or wine alcohol manufactured from grapes.”
In addition to following the Tanker Wash Guidelines, juice transporters are urged to consult with rabbinical organizations about the transport of kosher products as necessary.
“JPA and its members are committed to the safe and sanitary transport of bulk juice and juice products,” Faison emphasizes. “The JPA Tanker Wash Guidelines and associated audit program were developed to assist the industry with achieving this goal. The juice industry recognizes this program as an important tool, as some companies will only contract with a wash facility listed on the tanker wash website.”