FDA Rule to Ensure Food Safety During Transport

The rule will require those involved in transporting human and animal food by motor vehicle or rail to follow recognized best practices for sanitary transportation, such as properly refrigerating food and adequately cleaning vehicles between loads.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finalized a new food safety rule that will help to prevent food contamination during transportation. FDA has now finalized six of the seven major rules that implement the core of the Food Safety Modernization Act; this new one will require those involved in transporting human and animal food by motor vehicle or rail to follow recognized best practices for sanitary transportation, such as properly refrigerating food and adequately cleaning vehicles between loads.

The rule implements the Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 2005 and the requirement in section 111 of FSMA that instructed FDA to issue SFTA regulations. Shippers, loaders, carriers, and receivers engaged in transportation operations of food imported by motor vehicle or rail and consumed or distributed in the United States are subject to the final rule.

"Consumers deserve a safe food supply, and this final rule will help to ensure that all those involved in the farm-to-fork continuum are doing their part to ensure that the food products that arrive in our grocery stores are safe to eat," said Michael R. Taylor, FDA's deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.

The rule was proposed in February 2014 and takes into consideration more than 200 comments submitted by the transportation industry, food industry, government regulatory partners, and other stakeholders. "We recognize the importance of education and training in achieving widespread compliance, and we are committed to working with both industry and our government partners to ensure effective implementation of all of the new food safety rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act," Taylor said.

Businesses will be required to comply with the new rule one year after its publication, with smaller businesses having two years to comply. The seventh rule to implement SFMA, which focuses on mitigation strategies to protect food against intentional adulteration, is expected to be finalized later this year.

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