Truck wash audits, SOPs boost biosecurity

Needs to be same thought processes and practices for entering a truck wash as for entering a sow farm to minimize cross contamination.


By Tim Lundeen, National Hog Farmer

Sep 20, 2022


Many successful truck wash operations utilize an internal audit system where someone is responsible for monitoring processes as trucks and trailers move through the wash, according to Erin Kettelkamp, DVM, with the Swine Vet Center.


What should these audits or assessments include? Kettelkamp uses an evaluation form that helps her gain a good understanding of the day-to-day practices at a truck wash. Her goal is to understand the flow of traffic throughout the day, how many trailers are getting washed each day, whose trailers are getting washed, and the logistics associated with individual truck movement. From there, she wants to understand the company's expectations for washing standard operating procedures and whether the behaviors what is actually being done in the truck wash match the written SOPs.


"If the goal at the end of the day is to have a very clean trailer, it's important that we're measuring and assessing that process," Kettelkamp said, noting that inspecting a trailer while it's still in the wash bay helps ensure the wash crew has gotten into the hard-to-reach areas, and if necessary, allows them to rewash missed areas without having to pull a trailer back into the wash bay.


She said some of those hard-to-reach areas include the ceilings in the lower levels where there can be spray residues, along the support rails where dust can accumulate, and behind gates and hinge points. Kettelkamp said in trailers with multiple decks, the ramps don't always get pulled out fully during the wash process so shavings and other materials may hide there and re-contaminate the trailer.


Depending on the configuration of a trailer, the nose of the trailer may have different angles and supports that a washer normally facing the front of the trailer while washing may miss because they may not turn around and find the non-standard hiding spots.


Kettelkamp said the focus of the wash crew should be to remove all organic material in order to implement an effective wash. "First and foremost, we have to do a really good job with the initial power wash. We can layer on all the disinfectant we want, but if we're not getting the initial wash done right, then disinfectant and all those other steps really aren't going to help us any," she said...


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