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New food safety regulations approaching

Safety is vital when transporting food.
/ Industry News & Trends /

By: Phil Sneed

In early January 2011, the FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2010 was signed into law. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the legislation was one of the most sweeping reforms in more than 70 years. The new law was created to make sure the U.S. food supply would not become contaminated. In years past, the government would simply try to prevent food from becoming unusable, but the Food Safety and Modernization Act changes that, as regulators now actively seek to prevent contamination.

In early September, two compliance rules were finalized, and come September 2016, some businesses will have to start following the new regulations. The finalizations were the Preventive Controls for Animal Food and Preventive Controls for Human Food. According to The Wall Street Journal, these rules and regulations will make food manufacturers develop detailed plans to prevent illnesses stemming from food. It is the first time manufacturers have had to do so.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one out of six Americans falls ill from contaminated beverages or foods. In any given year, approximately 3,000 Americans pass away from food-related illnesses and medical expenses total $365 million across the country.

The bill has had a long history and can trace its roots to the days after September 11th, when Congress passed the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Response Act. This gave the FDA greater authority over how to deal with suspected cases of food contamination. The new act further expands rules and regulations if illnesses were to violate legal standards.

Effect on trucking
The new law has a direct effect on current transportation methods. According to Talking Logistics, trucking companies and logistics management companies are affected because of the Sanitary Transport of Human and Animal Food rule. Some of the proposed regulations, which will be finalized March 31, 2016, are:

  • Shippers must confirm temperature and clean sanitary conditions
  • Shippers will have to specify sanitary requirements to the carrier
  • The necessary compliance training is needed

The above requirements may add much needed time to shipping schedules. This time is often valuable and delays can cause items to arrive late, once all other conditions are factored in. The proposed regulation of requiring compliance training is also worth inquiring about because it may mean drivers or other shipping personal have to undergo additional training.

However, food safety is vital during the transportation process. As such, trucks must be outfitted with the proper equipment, such as reliable reefer units. Not doing so would endanger many Americans by exposing them to food that is not suitable for consumption.

While signed in 2011, elements of the Food Safety and Modernization Act are just now becoming finalized. While some of the proposed regulations may add extra time to the shipping process, shippers and carriers will have to pay close attention to proposed regulations over the coming months and adjust properly to ensure food is not damaged while being transported.