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Food safety transportation [Infographic]

New rules are finalized for food transportation.
/ Industry News & Trends /

By: Phil Sneed

In the early days of January 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act was made into law. When it was signed, the FSMA was officially the largest and most sweeping reform of food safety in the United States in over 40 years.

A need for safety

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 48 million Americans fall sick to a foodborne illness each year. While most of these individuals eventually recover, around 128,000 individuals have to be hospitalized and 3,000 pass away each year as a result of a foodborne illness.

In the past, food safety laws sought to merely respond to outbreaks and contamination, but FSMA changes that by ensuring the food supply is safe. This is because the FDA now actively seeks to prevent outbreaks.

There are over 250 foodborne diseases that are caused by parasites, contagions, bacteria and viruses. In some instances, food becomes contaminated during delivery, whether it's from a farm to a packaging facility, or from the processing plant to the grocery store. If trucks and equipment aren't properly maintained to ensure food is stored in clean conditions and more, the risk of contamination increases.

To help prevent contamination in food, FSMA calls for more compliance and regulations. The FDA achieves these regulatory mandates by creating various rules companies have to abide by. Some of the more noteworthy rules the FDA has either implemented or is in final discussion about include the following:

  • Preventive Controls for Human Food
  • Preventive Controls for Animal Food
  • Produce Safety Rule
  • Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food

With regards to trucking companies, the rule overseeing sanitary transportation is one that should be examined carefully because it establishes specific requirements for carriers, shippers, loaders and receivers.

What is the rule?

The rule was finalized by the FDA on April 5, 2016. According to the FDA, the purpose of this rule is to prevent procedures and practices during transportation that may lead to food contamination.

Key requirements of the rule comprise of specific areas, such as the maintenance of transportation equipment, including refrigeration technology. Companies are also mandated to keep detailed records and ensure that all their personnel are properly trained to comply with sanitation requirements.

Key date

Whenever a new rule is finalized, companies are given time to meet the implementation date. Companies must comply with the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food by March 2017, although there are some exceptions depending on the size of the company. Check out this infographic to learn more.