FDA proposes tightened standards for some food haulers

reefer dock shipper 2Certain carriers, shippers and receivers of food and animals would be required to comply with a federal proposal to set stricter safeguards against contamination.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will publish the plan Feb. 5 that would apply to some transporters of food items destined be consumed or distributed in the United States. It is intended to ensure those handling food with the greatest risk for contamination follow sanitary transportation practices.

The proposed regulation would establish criteria for sanitary transportation practices. It would include standards for refrigeration, the cleaning of vehicles between loads and protecting food during transportation. Shippers would be required inspect trucks for cleanliness before loading food that are not completely enclosed by its container, such as fresh produce in vented boxes.

The proposal also would affect international shippers transporting food for U.S. consumption or distribution that arrange for transferring the intact container onto truck or rail in the United States.

It would not affect transporters with less than $500,000 in annual sales or that transport fully packaged shelf-stable foods. Additional exemptions would include transporters of:

  • Live animals set for human consumption such as hogs.
  • Fully packaged shelf-stable foods,
  • Raw agricultural commodities when transported by farm operations.
  • Food shipped through the United States to another country.
  • Food imported for future export not consumed nor distributed in the United States.

Implementation would be staggered based on business size and would range from one to two years after publication of the final rule.

The proposal would implement the final major rule of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. The act is intended to implement measures to reduce human or animal illness or injury during transportation.

FDA representatives will hold public meetings on the plan on Feb. 27 in Chicago, March 13 in Anaheim, Calif. and March 20 in College Park, Md.

The agency is accepting feedback on the plan through May 31. Comments must be identified by Docket No. FDA-2013-N-0013 and may be submitted one of the following ways:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: at http://www.regulations.gov
  • FAX to 301-827-6870.
  • Mail to the Division of Dockets Management, (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD  20852.

More information is available at: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-02188