748541_sSWITZERLAND: An investigation by Swiss authorities has found that 17% of refrigerated vehicles were providing insufficient cooling.

VKCS, the Swiss association of chemists, in co-operation with the police, stopped nearly 900 food transport vehicles last year. In 17% of cases the shipments’ temperatures were 3ºC or more above regulation temperatures. In the majority of cases it was the smaller, local transports that were at fault.

Of the 900 refrigerated vehicles stopped between May and September last year, 424 were vans up to 3.5 tons, 135 trucks between 3.5 and 12 tonnes, 115 lorries from 12 to 16 tonnes and 223 articulated lorries over 16 tonnes.

Most of the problems were encountered with the smaller vehicles from 3.5 to 12 tonnes. Of these, 35% of vehicles checked were not providing the correct temperature. While the largest international carriers provided fewer problems, even here 1 in 10 did not meet the requirements.

In 5% of cases slightly elevated temperatures were measured; 6% of the vehicles were much too hot (up to 6ºC) and in a further 6% of cases the temperatures were greatly elevated. In rare cases, the temperatures were so high that the food safety was not completely guaranteed and the charge had to be destroyed. In one case, the driver admitted that, during two days on the road, he had forgotten to connect the vehicle to power the refrigeration overnight.

Other defects found included broken door seals and rusty or dirty interiors.