Posts Tagged “Transfresh”

Checklist Part III – Avoiding Produce Quality Issues at Open Cross Docks

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RichMacleod13Cross docking has become more popular, especially in the past 10 to 15 years, as shippers deal with shortages of drivers and equipment, and with the rising popularity of loads mixed with several different fresh produce commodities, possibly from several different growers or other entities.  This increases the chances of quality problems from the heat or cold at open docks, depending upon the time of the year.

It is common for temperature recording devices to keep a record of how long that trailer door is open.  It also will record the spike in temperature in the trailer due to warm weather, or the drop of temperature in colder environments.

“If you are  a driver, there’s a full recording of how long that door is open and that can come back to haunt the driver at destination,” states Rich Macleod of TransFresh Corp. of Salinas, CA, whose career has been dedicated to improving in-transist issues associated with fresh produce, and how to improve upon delivering a fresh, quality product.

“If you are at an open loading dock, you need to turn your reefer unit off when the product is being loaded,” Macleod cautions.

Otherwise, a running refrigeration unit will be sucking warm air across the trailer floor and into the reefer unit.  This puts exceptional demand on that reefer unit, he notes.  If there is warm air coming across the unit’s coils, that results in a lot more condensation — and freezing.

“So the first thing that happens when you close the trailer doors is that unit goes into defrost  So then you just further aggravate what ever break you have in the cold chain.  So back up to the dock, shut off the reefer, load, and then close the trailer door and re-start the reefer unit.  You will have colder loads,” Macleod relates.

One situation Macleod is noticing is when a partial load of strawberries is loaded at Watsonsville, CA and the driver proceeds to the Central San Joaquin Valley to fill out the trailer with stone fruit.

“The trucker backs up to the dock and sometimes that driver will leave the reefer unit running.  then they (shipper) re-balance the load, perhaps placing the heavier commodities in the front of the trailer..  They pull the strawberries (off the truck), place them on the loading dock to move in the other product.  Typically, those strawberries will start picking up temperature within 15 to 30 minutes,” Macleod says.

Of course, factors such as whether those strawberries on the dock are sitting in the shade,  or sun, whether the wind is blowing, temperature, etc.

This has resulted in strawberry shippers insisting the strawberries being picked up and loaded last onto the trailer.

(This is the third in a five-part series featuring an interview with Rich Macleod, vice president, pallet division North America for TransFresh Corp., Salinas, CA.  He has been with the company since 1976, and has a masters degree in post harvest science from the University of California, Davis.)

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South Texas Produce Shipments are Increasing, with Some Help from Mexico

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HPtxOnionsShipments of Mexican sweet onions have been crossing the border into South Texas since mid February and are about three weeks or so later than normal, due to cold weather.  The Texas 1015 sweet onion crop in the Lower Rio Grand Valley is pretty much mirroring the Mexican onions and are behind schedule as well.

The Texas 1015 onion shipments should get underway within the next week and loadings should continue through May.  The Winter Garden District just south of San Antonio should start shipping sweet onions the first week of May and continue for about eight weeks.

A number of Mexican produce loads are crossing the border in South Texas ranging from carrots to strawberries, raspberries and roma tomatoes, among other items.

Some good news on the berry front is that TransFresh Corp. of Salinas, CA is working with a warehousing facility to provide its Techtrol CO2 process for Mexican berries crossing the border.  Bagged pallets of berries with the gassing process has been found to extend the shelf life and quality of berries.  It also reduces the chances of claims relating to the quality of berries.

Texas citrus shipments led by grapefruit and oranges are moving in steady volume from the Lower Rio Grande Valley.    About 100 loads of Texas oranges are being shipped weekly.


South Texas and Mexican produce – grossing about $5000 to New York City.

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Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Shipments Continue to Increase

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HpgreenhouseTsGreenhouse growing of vegetables continues to increase whether it is in Mexico, the U.S., or in this case Ontario.  It’s popularity is rising, not only because weather conditions can be controlled, but the product itself is ususally better tasting, especially with something like tomatoes.  Ontario does have loading opportunities for produce haulers, although we are not normally talking in truck load quantities.

Most of the Ontario greenhouse vegetables are located along the northern shores of Lake Erie, including the towns of Leamington and Kingsville.  The reason is this area receives more sunshine than anywhere else in Canada.

The leading green house vegetables are tomatoes, English cucumbers and peppers.  This year it is estimated Ontario will ship 448 million pounds of tomatoes, an increase of nearly 18 percent over last year.  There should be 250 million pounds of English cucumbers (nearly 23 percent more) and 170 million pounds of peppers, up nearly 31 percent.

There also is much smaller volume with eggplant and specialty peppers and specialty tomatoes.

About 70 percent of the Ontario greenhouse veggies are shipped to the U.S.

While the cukes, peppers, and egglant are compatible for loading together in a truck, the tomatoes are not a good fit.  That’s too bad since volume wise at any one time, greenhouse tonnage is relatively low, even though it continues to increase.

If you ever want to check out what fruits and veggies are good for putting on the same truck, check out the Fresh Produce Mixer & Loading Guide from TransFRESH Corp.  These are the same folks that provide the Tectrol atmosphere that adds shelf life to strawberries and other products, which helps to maintain quality.

To check this info out, just click on the TransFresh ad on this website.




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In-Transit Issues – Part VI: Reducing Claims and Rejected Loads

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Hauling fresh produce tends to provide much higher freight rates than dry freight, obviously because of the perishability of fresh fruits and vegetables, and the extra care required with temperature, humdity, air circulation in the load, etc.

The higher risk to which truckers are exposed, also includes the possibilites of claims that reduce a driver’s pay check, or even worse, having the load rejected.

The degree of exposure to problems upon arrival at destination can depend on the honesty and integrity of the parties involved.  Did the shipper pre-cool the product?  Did the driver maintain proper temperature settings?  Did the buyer or receiver pay too much for that product five days ago when the order was placed, and now the fruit on the market is worth $2 a box less?  All of these examples can lead to claims or rejections with produce loads.

There have been studies over the years including the recent one titled Comparison of Pallet Cover Systems to Maintain Strawberry Fruit Quality During Transport which provides some interesting information.  For example, this research concludes that TransFresh Corp’s Tectrol process reduces fruit decay  by increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in pallets covered by bags. 

With CO2 levels increased by 11 to 16 percent, Tectrol beats its competitors in the important area of decay in strawberries by up to seven percent following delivery and two days on the shelf.

So how does this translate into a reduction in claims and load rejections for the produce trucker, if there is less decay in product being transported?

“That’s an interesting equation,” states Rich Macleod of TransFresh Corp. ,  Salinas, CA.  “No one will ever talk about that.  No one gives us their data.  We’ve never been able to prove that (fewer claims, rejected loads), because we get it (information) by hersay.”

Macleod  says experienced drivers know if they pick up a load of strawberries covered with bags, they are confident there will be no problems with that load.  The expert in controlled atmosphere loads has been told by retailers “…their strawberry program is much easier” since using Tectrol.

However, when he asks that customer  for data relating to load rejection and claims for strawberries comparing shipments with and without CO2 infused bagged pallets, he hits a stone wall.  Those receivers acknowledge the benefits of Tectrol, but refuse to provide any statistics.

(This is the last of a 6-part series featuring an interview with Rich Macleod, vice president, pallet division North America for TransFresh Corp., Salinas, CA.  He has been with company since 1976, and has a masters degree in post harvest science from the University of California, Davis.)




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In-Transit Issues Part III – Trucking a Key Component in Quality Produce

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In this series we have been covering a number of issues and answers coming out of the study Comparison of Pallet Cover Systems to Maintain Strawberry Quality During Transport.

The study was conducted by the University of California, Davis and The University of Florida.

While a primary goal of the study is to find better ways to have produce with better quality and flavor delivered from the field to the kitchen shelf, transportation plays a key role in this.

Rich Macleod of TransFresh Corp. describes this as a “global process” where it must be considered that actions taken during the entire  handling process can influence even the best varieties of product that end up in the hands of the consumer.

“The study confirms my private belief, plus our private research over the years,” he says.  “If you do these processes correctly; cool it, transport correctly with good temperature control, with a CO2 atmosphere, you are going to deliver better fruit to the consumer.”

In the report, it details strawberry shipments with palletized loads covered with bags and carbon dioxide (CO2).  The transcontential shipments compared the modified atmosphere shipments of CO2 West, PEAKfresh, PrimePro and Tectrol (TransFresh).

The results of the study may show why Tectrol is the dominant supplier of bagged, controlled atmosphere shipments out of California.  Macleod says over half of the California harvested strawberries in California are shipped using the Tectrol process by TransFresh.  California also grows and ships the vast majority of the nation’s strawberries.

The summary of the study’s findings probably explains why many strawberries look great when shipped and still are beautiful when displayed in your local supermarket.  However, how many times have you purchased strawberries in the store and no sooner get home and notice quality problems occuring (a common experience with yours truely, the purveyor of this website)?

The study summarizes, “The Tectrol cover was sealed to the pallet base, a partial vacuum was applied, and pressurized CO2 gas was injected inside….CO2 concentrations within pallets at the beginning and end of transport were higher (11% to 16%) in the sealed Tectrol system and relatively low (.06% to .30% in the open CO2 West, PEAKfresh and PrimePro cover systems.”

Continuing, the report states, “The incident of fruit decay was low (1% to 1.4%) after transport, but increased substantially following a 2-day shelf life at 68 degrees.  However, fruit from the Tectrol pallets exhibited significantly less decay (36%) after shelf life than the CO2 West (39%), non covered (pallets)(41%), PrimePro (42%) and PEAKfresh (43%).” 

 (This is Part 3 0f 5, featuring an interview with Rich Macleod, vice president, pallet division North America for TransFresh Corp., Salinas, CA.  He has been with company since 1976, and has a masters degree in post harvest science from the University of California, Davis.)


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In-Transit Issues Part II – Adjusting for Heat from Bagged Pallets

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When hauling the more perishable produce items such as strawberries, knowing your reefer unit, maintaining proper temperature and taking a pulp temperature at shipping point becomes even more critical.  Doing things right results in delivering a better product to your customers, as well as reducing claims and load rejections.

These points are among some important findings in a study released last year, Comparison of Pallet Cover Systems to Maintain Strawberry Fruit Quality During Transport.  As the title indicates, the study compares modified air controlled strawberry shipments using carbon dioxide (CO2).

Following up on that report, had an extensive interview with Rich Macleod of TransFresh Corp. of Salinas, whose product Tectrol came out looking pretty darn good when compared with competing companies offering controlled atmosphere bags covering palletized loads of strawberries.

The project was a combined effort of the University of California, Davis and the University of Florida in conjunction with the USDA.

“What this (study) demonstrates is when you put a bag over the pallet, you are going to get some in-transit warming,” Macleod observes.  “It doesn’t matter whether it is a Tectrol (application) or somebody else’s bag because the warming is about the same for all of them.”

Where Tectrol shined in the study was the quality of the berries upon arrival after the cross country hauls from California to the east coast. 

But back to the issue of in-transit warming.  Rich points out when a palletized load is entirely bagged, the driver has to account for warming when adjusting the refrigeration unit set points accordingly at a colder temperature than if the load were “naked.”

He says, “I believe you can run a fully bagged Tectrol load (of strawberries) at 30 degrees F. if your (reefer) unit is well calibrated and your unit was built within the past four years.”

However, realistically Macleod knows most drivers prefer a 36-degree F. setting.  As they become more familar with these type of loads they find out one can drop the setting to 34 or even 32 degrees.

“They (drivers) should not have issues with warmer product, if it is bagged.  And they should not have any issues with frozen product.  There are a number of drivers that have been incredibly successful handling Tectrol loads at 32 degrees F., but they know their units inside out and have them calibrated.  They know what the floors are and the coldest temperatures that unit will be.  Thirty-two degrees is a reasonable compromise.” 

Macleod stressed that even if the fruit has been properly pre-cooled, carriers have to realize those bagged pallets will increase the temperature.

In fact the study itself points out in shipments with non covered pallets, the clamshell packaged strawberries remained at 32 to 35 degrees F.  However, pallets covered with bags resulted in the temperature increase of three to four degrees by the time it arrived at destination.

“The rise in temperature during shipments indicate the trailers were unable to maintain the recommended  32 degrees F….” the study states.  

What can a driver do if the pallets are already covered with CO2 filled bags upon arrival at the dock?

Although it is too late for a visual inspection of what is being loaded by the driver, Macleod says, “a well run (shipping) company should allow the driver to take a pulp temperature and they (shipper) should provide tape to reseal that hole (made by the driver to take the pulp temperature).  It is a common practice and shippers respect that.” 

(This is Part 2 0f 5, featuring an interview with Rich Macleod, vice president, pallet division North America for TransFresh Corp., Salinas, CA.  He has been with company since 1976, and has a masters degree in post harvest science from the University of California, Davis.)



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In-Transit Issues Pt. I – Maintaining Peach Quality

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Peach season is upon us and that means a lot of produce truckers will be hauling this perishable fruit over the next few months.

Too many receivers, and consumers  are dissatisfied with the quality of this stone fruit and much of the fault may lie with what has happened prior to the produce trucker picking up the fruit.

Rich Macleod of TransFresh Corp., Salinas, CA created the Fresh Produce Mixer & Loading Guide about 30 years ago and it still remains in demand from brokers, retailers and carriers needing accurate information regarding in- transit temperature settings and proper mixing of produce items in the same load.

For example, the guide recommends peaches be transported at 34 to 36 degrees F. and can be effectively shipped with many other fruit items and some vegetables.

“The temperature killing range for peaches is roughly 38 to 50 degrees F.  Realistically, that is the (temperature) range where everything (in produce) is transported,” Macleod says.

He cites four specific factors which can hinder a good, quality arrival for peaches, even if the trucker maintains the proper temperature, has his reefer unit calibrated and trailer has features ranging from bulkhead, seals, and doors in good condition, among other things.

(1)  Growers should not cross subliminal,or inadequate varieties of peaches and expect a good product.

(2)  The peaches should not be harvested before they mature.

(3)  After the peaches are harvested, there should be “intermitent” warming, where the fruit sets in a temperature range of 60 to 70 degrees F. for a day or so.

(4) Then the peaches should be cooled and packed with a pulp temperature of 36 degrees F.

“If you do all of these steps together, the probability is the quality is going to  be pretty good,” Macleod states. 

He says the peach growing and shipping industry is working to address these issues, but it often is easier said than done.

Obstacles or issues too often can waylay the best made plains.  For example, due to weather factors, early variety peaches may end up overlapping with a later variety fruit.  Another example deals with markets.  A “hot” or high priced market for peach sellers may result in the product being picked before it is mature.  Then suddenly there may be too many peaches on the market, the prices collapse and the product is held back with sellers hoping for better profits to be made.

Stone fruit  held in storage or transported at the wrong temperature becomes “mealy or flavorless,” and turns brown on the inside, even though the outside of the fruit may look good.

“It’s called internal breakdown,” Macleod says.

About the time a produce operation may get all of the issues figured out, something may happen such as new managment coming in and the same old problems start all over gain.  Meanwhile, the produce trucker may end up in the middle of a problem at destination that  may not even be his or her fault.

(This is Part 1 0f 5, featuring an interview with Rich Macleod, vice president, pallet division North America for TransFresh Corp., Salinas, CA.  He has been with company since 1976, and has a masters degree in post harvest science from the University of California, Davis.)





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California Shipments Continue Heavy Summer Volume

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The Salinas and San Joaquin Valleys  continue to provide your best loading opportunities in California.

Head lettuce may be producing the biggest volume from Salinas and is averaging around 1700 to 1800 truckload equivalents a week.  However, there remains significant tonnage coming with other types of lettuce, as well broccoli, cauliflower, celery and many other items….The nearby Watsonville area is shipping a lot of strawberries….

The relentless heat baking much of the USA this summer makes it paramount you take precautions to protect your load  (check out the TransFresh ad on this website that provides “in-transit warming” information).

The Santa Maria district has much lighter volume than Salinas, but it also is shipping many of the same vegetables.

The San Joaquin Valley has both fruits and vegetable loadings occurring from many areas.  In the central valley around 500 to 600 truckload equivalents of mature green tomatoes are being shipped each week….Table grape loadings continue on pace to what could be record shipments this year, with heaviest volume currently coming from the Arvin and Delano areas.

Shipments from the California desert of cantaloupe (and some other items) has mercifully come to an end as some product was looking pretty rough at the end of the season.

California supplies for refrigerated equipment generally remain adequate, but you shouldn’t face signficant delays for loads in most cases because of the seasonal volume.

Salinas vegetables are grossing – about $7700 to Hunts Point in New York City.

San Joaquin Valley fruits and vegetables – about $5000 to Chicago.

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Blueberry Storage Technology is Introduced

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SALINAS, Calif. –TransFRESH Corporation has announced that in partnership with Landec Corporation, its Tectrol® Service Network storage solution for blueberries is now available featuring Landec’s BreatheWay® Technology supplied by Apio, Inc., offering growers and shippers further enhanced storage capability.

The specialized BreatheWay membrane technology delivers bag permeability characteristics that more precisely match blueberry respiration rates for better balanced atmospheres and storage stability.

“We are very pleased to introduce this further enhancement of the Tectrol Service Network storage solution for blueberries,” said Rich Macleod, TransFRESH vice president, pallet division North America. “With an increased interest from growers and shippers in blueberry storage capabilities, the application of the BreatheWay® membrane technology to the Tectrol blueberry storage solution now offers our business partners added storage benefits.”

The TransFRESH Tectrol team collaborated closely with Landec and its wholly owned subsidiary, Apio Inc., throughout the application of the BreatheWay technology to the Tectrol blueberry storage solution program.

TransFRESH also unveiled a pallet bag label for its blueberry program featuring a new contemporary blueberry image along with the TransFRESH logotype and Apio, Inc. BreatheWay® Technology identification and patent number.

About TransFRESH®

TransFRESH® Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chiquita Brands (NYSE: CQB), is a pioneering and established global company, with nearly 50 years of experience in perishables transport. Tectrol® is the trademarked brand name for the TransFRESH® family of proprietary modified and controlled atmosphere systems and processes developed and owned by TransFRESH®. The Tectrol® Service Network™ services, markets and supports the Tectrol Pallet Systems operations and technologies. Since inception, TransFRESH’s innovations in packaging, equipment and sealing processes have established Tectrol® as the industry standard. For more information, visit the TransFRESH website at

About Apio, Inc.

Apio, Inc., founded in 1979 by five growers of celery in the Santa Maria Valley in the central coastal region of California has grown to become the leader in processing and marketing fresh-cut specialty packaged vegetables in the U.S. Headquartered in Guadalupe, California, Apio sells its specialty packaged vegetables in convenient bag and tray formats under the Eat Smart® brand. Apio’s fresh-cut specialty packaged vegetable products are unique in that they utilize the Landec Corporation BreatheWay® proprietary breathable packaging technology to extend the shelf life of specific produce. Landec acquired Apio in 1999. For more information about Apio visit Apio’s website at

 About Landec Corp.

 Landec Corporation is a materials science company that leverages its proprietary polymer technologies, application development and innovation capabilities to develop and commercialize new products in food, agricultural and biomedical markets. Landec’s subsidiary, Apio, has become the leader in US fresh-cut specialty packaged vegetables by combining Landec’s proprietary food packaging technology with the capabilities of a large national food supplier, processor and distributor. Lifecore Biomedical, also a subsidiary of Landec, is a leading supplier of premium hyaluronan-based biomaterials for the ophthalmic and orthopedic markets. Landec’s Licensing Partnerships work closely with market-leading companies to develop and commercialize differentiated polymer-based products. For more information, visit Landec’s website at

News Release:  TransFresh Corporation







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Tectrol-Shipped Strawberries Arrive by Truck for Final Quality Check

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After a more than four-day journey on its cross-country haul, the California fresh strawberry load was just being backed  into Andover, MA Market Basket warehouse dock as the sun was rising.

Waiting with a clip board grasped in one hand and a coffee mug in the other was Allen Moczygemba, team leader with TransFresh Corporation’s Tectrol Service Network and the designated rep responsible for


Allen Moczygemba, Tectrol Service Network rep, inspects strawberry load and takes atmosphere readings using sensor probe.


conducting the final Tectrol® quality check before its Tectrol-sealed pallets could be opened and clamshells distributed to the New England chain of supermarkets and superstores in time for the Mother’s Day rush.

Behind the scenes, Mike Maguire, Market Basket’s vice president for perishables, awaited the TransFresh quality assurance report, well aware of the time and the dozens of equally important tasks facing him that day.

 This scene is one that is repeated hundreds of times across the country throughout the long strawberry season as members of the Tectrol Service Network seamlessly and vigilantly troubleshoot the proper application and performance of the proprietary Tectrol Atmosphere freshness solution for strawberries.  Carefully monitoring and measuring everything from the proper sealing of the Tectrol® pallet bags to the levels of CO2 and O2 inside, Tectrol Service Network inspectors also observe truck temperature settings, strawberry pulp temperatures and even truck loading patterns (away from truck walls is preferred for more even pulp temperatures due to optimal refrigeration air flows).  In short, the Tectrolservice reps are “on the case” to help make certain that the Tectrol Atmosphere systems are properly in place and performing at desired levels to help assure strawberry quality throughout the growing seasons.


Mike Maguire (left), Vice President of Perishables for Market Basket, reviews Tectrol data with Allen Moczygemba, Tectrol Service Network rep.


According to  Moczygemba, the early morning hours at receiving warehouses are tough but worth it.  “Because the Tectrol Service Network may ensure the recommended 10% or higher CO2 levels that are proven to limit strawberry decay, we’re more than willing to monitor every step of the process if it means better berries and more benefits for our growers-shippers, the retail customer and their consumers.” 

Tectrol Service Network Quality Checklist At-A-Glance

Shipping Point Audits

  • Routine spot inspections of all Tectrol® application processes
  • Routine confirmation of Tectrol® atmosphere pre shipment levels
  • Routine equipment inspections operational efficiency 
  • Continuous monitoring and on-site training ofservicepersonnel
  • 24/7 certified technical support

Distribution Service Audits

  • Routine spot inspections at receiving points to ensure Tectrol® performance
  • Verification of Tectrol® application and pallet bag seal integrity
  • Measurement of atmospheric readings to ensure accuracy
  • Network-wide updates within 12 hours
  • Process improvements that are immediate and ongoing

Online Reporting

  • Convenient online customer access to detailed reporting



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