Farm to Fork Safety
Covino Farms is a fully integrated vegetable growing, processing and distribution business that supplies fresh produce to the eastern states of Australia. For over a decade, Covino Farms has partnered with Coretex to deliver on their promise of “truly fresh” vegetables for consumers.
The Covino family farming history spans three generations. Since 1993, the family owned farm has operated in the Longford area, about two hours east of Melbourne in Gippsland. As a business leader in the community, the farm employs 120 permanent staff as well as seasonal workers, with a great number having been with the company for 10 – 15 years or more.
The 3,500 acre Longford farm grows lettuce, salad mixes, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, and other fresh vegetables. As one of Australia’s largest growers, Covino Farms takes pride in having full control of its supply chain: from planting, picking, processing, and the distribution to customers. Often lettuce and other produce is picked one day and in grocery stores and restaurants the very next day.
THE SITUATION — RAISING THE BAR FOR FOOD SAFETY & COMPLIANCE
Covino Farms has a separate nursery area to grow seedlings. Growing plants from seeds helps eliminate disease and ensures the highest degree of quality. The farm utilizes state-of-the art equipment and trained staff specialists at their on-site processing plant where they wash, cut, dice, mix and pack fresh vegetables into a range of packed products consumers find on their supermarket shelves.
Peter Croker, Covino Farms’ Logistics and Finance Director, oversees the transport of packed fresh vegetables from the company’s own fleet of eight climate-controlled trucks. Deliveries are made from the farm’s rural location to metropolitan distribution centers and produce markets in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.
Recently, numerous food handling and food safety laws have been mandated to reduce the risk of foodborne illness resulting from bacterial growth. A major component of most “farm-to-fork” regulations is the ability to track, report and maintain appropriate temperature conditions inside refrigeration units throughout the entire cold chain.
Addressing these more stringent “chain of custody” requirements for monitoring, record keeping and reporting of perishable foods in transit has been a challenge for food suppliers. The traditional method of manually monitoring the temperature of produce is time consuming, infrequent, and often unreliable. Covino Farms turned to Coretex to streamline this process and to guarantee industry regulation compliance — while at the same time ensuring their food is safe and of the highest quality for consumers.
THE SOLUTION — AUTOMATED TEMPERATURE MONITORING
Real-time data and telematics, coupled with new regulations, are driving a new era of innovation and improved performance in the refrigerated trucking market. Covino Farms utilizes Coretex’s single platform for visibility and control for all of its reefer assets. The Coretex Cold Chain temperature monitoring solution automates compliance obligations with a powerful range of sensors and probes. The remote-sensing units regularly record and transmit data points such as temperature and humidity, air flow in the trailer, and refrigeration unit performance.
The sensors record and transmit reefer data at regular intervals over the duration of a run, and while loading, unloading or staging. The system provides operators with the ability to remotely check a trailer’s temperature, and adjust, troubleshoot or reset, if necessary.
The system also accounts for other status information including fuel level, performance issues, engine faults, and geofences. User-customized alerts can be configured to notify fleet operations personnel when an anomaly occurs so they can act quickly.
“Obviously, the ability to continuously monitor the temperature of our trailers is important for me, but I also really like knowing where the trucks are at any given time during a delivery route,” said Croker. Coretex’s real-time location tracking of Covino’s vehicles allows him to visualize the location of his trucks on a computer dashboard, without calling his drivers. This feature comes in handy to notify customers of precise delivery times and facilitates first-class customer service.
The Results — Transparency & Trust
With Coretex, Covino Farms now has the ability to verify perishable cargo conditions throughout the supply chain. Coretex’s cloud-based platform and software captures and combines data from many devices to give dispatchers a continuous, comprehensive view of a reefer’s operating status. This partnership has provided a system to validate food quality, improve safety, and ultimately build consumer trust.
Coretex allows us to monitor and remotely adjust the temperature of our reefers and track our drivers’ hours of service. At the end of the day, it’s all about education, safety and compliance
— Peter Croker, Logistics and Finance Manager
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