The Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs and on the Special Equipment to be Used for such Carriage (ATP) is intended to ensure that deep-frozen and chilled foodstuffs are transported efficiently, safely and hygienically and do not pose a danger to human health. It also helps countries avoid the wastage of food through spoilage caused by poor temperature control during carriage. The ATP Agreement provides common standards for temperature-controlled transport equipment such as road vehicles, railway wagons and sea containers (for sea journeys under 150 km) and the tests to ensure the insulating capacity of the equipment and the effectiveness of thermal appliances. New ATP equipment is required to undergo a test of its K coefficient, to prove that the heat escape from the inside to the outside of the body meets the values defined by ATP. All 50 Contracting Parties to the Agreement – including non-UNECE countries (Morocco, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia) – are required to recognize ATP certificates for equipment that conforms to the standards issued by the competent authorities of other Contracting Parties. The ATP lists the products that can be carried under ATP and sets the warmest possible temperature of the load. Fruit and vegetables unless processed are as yet outside the scope of ATP. ATP applies if the point at which the goods are loaded and unloaded are in two different States and the point at which they are unloaded is situated in the territory of a Contracting Party. In other words it applies even if the State where the goods are loaded is not a Contracting Party. Some countries also use the ATP as the basis for their domestic legislation for temperature-controlled transport.
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