The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Proposed Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food is designed to uphold sanitary conditions and practices while food is transported. The comments filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully support the intent of this rule for the purpose of preserving food safety and security.
However, IWLA seeks further clarification regarding the FDA’s definition of “responsible parties” in the ruling. Specifically the comments focus on the definition of shipper as “a person who initiates a shipment of food by motor vehicle or rail.”
According to the comments: “A 3PL warehouse could be interpreted as the ‘initiator,’ i.e., the shipper even though the warehouse owner does not have the knowledge or control over the product to assure its safe transportation.”
In the comments IWLA outlines three requests:
- The definition of “shipper” should be clearly defined as a person with ownership of the food product.
- The FDA should not rely on shipping documents to determine the “shipper” for the purposes of this rule, as that is not related to the product’s title or ownership.
- The FDA should make a distinction between the “title” of the food product versus “possession” of the food product to make the legal responsibility of food security on the owner who has the knowledge of the product conditions that need to be met.
The need to distinguish the unique role of the third-party warehouse logistics provider into rulings is a reoccurring theme in IWLA’s conversations with the FDA. IWLA continues to educate regulators about the way products move through the supply chain.