The U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday announced the final ruling of the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food, the next step in the Food Safety Modernization Act rollout. This ruling is the latest in a seven-part series that began in January 2013.
According to the FDA, the latest rules derive from the 2005 Sanitary Food Transportation Act. Shippers, loaders, carriers, and receivers must abide by requirements of vehicles, equipment, operations, records, training, and waivers. The rule includes both motor and rail transportation.
Requirements from the FDA Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food fact sheet:
Vehicles and transportation equipment: Vehicles and transportation equipment must be maintained to ensure that food remains safe. For example, equipment must be suitable and adequately cleanable for it intended use and it must be capable of maintaining temperatures necessary for the safe transport of food.
Transportation operations: The ruling outlines the measures needed to ensure food safety, such as adequate temperature controls, preventing contamination of ready-to-eat food from touching raw food, protection of food from contamination by non-food items in the same load or previous load, and protection of food from cross-contact, i.e., the unintentional incorporation of a food allergen.
Training: Carrier personnel must be trained in sanitary transportation practices. And this training must be documented. This is required when the carrier and shipper agree that the carrier is responsible for sanitary conditions during transport.
Records: Carriers must keep records of written procedures, agreements, and training. The required retention time for these records depends upon the type of record and when the covered activity occurred, but does not exceed 12 months.
Large businesses have one year to comply and small businesses have two years to comply with this rule. A webinar is planned for April 25, 2016, to present key pieces of the final rule. Read the final rule.