Cross Contamination

Range of Risk

Some products may contaminate other products. The seriousness may range from tainting through to health- and safety- threatening contamination.


An example of tainting is where a product giving off a pungent aroma may transfer some of this aroma onto another product. For instance, it would be bad practice to have perfumes loaded near to fresh apples.

An example of health- and safety- threatening contamination is where two chemicals that are prone to evaporation and that may be harmless individually, may result in a poisonous or potentially explosive atmosphere when their vapours are mixed.

Technical Information

Those responsible for planning vehicle loading will be given (or will acquire) technical information on which products should be separated, and the level and nature of the product separation.

Types of Separation

Products may be separated in a number of ways, such as:

  • Separate distribution cases (secondary packages)
  • Separate pallets/roll pallets/dollies/slip sheets (tertiary packages)
  • Separate bulk heads
  • Separate vehicles


Information should also be available about any tolerances that should be observed. Some products may need to be separated as an ideal requirement. This may be because the consequences of contamination are insignificant and have no effect on health and safety. For other products there may be a strict stipulation that they must be separated. This may be because contamination is likely and/or that contamination may result in a significant degradation of the product or that health and safety may be compromised.


Products that contain liquid must be packaged sufficiently in order to prevent leakage onto other products. As a general point, it’s safer and more efficient to be strict on this point, rather than expect all other products to be packaged in a way that will protect them from leakage from elsewhere.