New Food Safety Rule Will Impact Shippers

05/18/2016 — Leah Palnik

Over the years, refrigerated (reefer) trucks have revolutionized the way perishable goods are transported. This technology provides shippers with the ability to reach larger markets and gives consumers better access to things like produce, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. Most commonly, shippers and receivers of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and dairy products rely on this refrigerated technology to do business. However, with broadening opportunity, often comes increased regulation – especially when it comes to food safety.

In 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was passed by Congress and signed into law to ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply. Most recently a FSMA rule was finalized that will affect shippers, loaders, carriers, and receivers. The rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food is one of seven foundational rules proposed since January 2013 that aim to help create a solid framework for food safety.

The rule specifies conditions for cleaning vehicles between shipments, pre-cooling trucks, keeping accurate records on temperature controls, conducting training, and other protective measures.

Specifically, the rule establishes requirements for:

  • Vehicles and transportation equipment: The design and maintenance of vehicles and transportation equipment to ensure that it does not cause the food that it transports to become unsafe. 
  • Transportation operations: The measures taken during transportation 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: Training of carrier personnel in sanitary transportation practices and documentation of the training. This training is required when the carrier and shipper agree that the carrier is responsible for sanitary conditions during transport. 
  • Records: Maintenance of records of written procedures, agreements and training (required of carriers). 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.

Some operations are exempt from the rule, including those engaged in food transportation operations that have less than $500,000 in average annual revenue. Small businesses (businesses other than motor carriers who are not also shippers and/or receivers employing fewer than 500 persons and motor carriers having less than $27.5 million in annual receipts) will have two years to comply, while other businesses have one year from publication to comply.

If you ship or receive food, it’s important to understand these changes and the effect they’ll have on your operations. When your shipment requires a refrigerated trailer, you need a carrier that has superior capabilities and a price that won’t break your bottom line. PartnerShip provides competitive pricing on refrigerated truckload shipments and only works with the most reputable carriers. Get a free quote today!

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