Truckin: FDA releases final rule to ensure food safety during transport

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today finalized a new food safety rule under the landmark FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that will help to prevent food contamination during transportation.

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

The action is part of a larger effort to focus on prevention of food safety problems throughout the food chain, and the rule implements the Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 2005 (SFTA) as well as the requirement in section 111 of FSMA that instructed FDA to issue SFTA regulations. The regulation will apply to food transported within the United States by motor or rail vehicle, whether or not the food is offered for or enters interstate commerce. Shippers, loaders, carriers and receivers engaged in transportation operations of food imported by motor or rail vehicle and consumed or distributed in the United States are also 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, the 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, international trading partners, consumer advocates, tribal organizations and others. It also builds on the transportation industry’s best practices for cleaning, inspecting, maintaining, loading and unloading and operating vehicles and transportation equipment.

Implementation of the sanitary transportation rule and all FSMA final rules will require partnership, education and training.

Third-party audits are no replacement for skilled staff, food safety culture: Bite Me ’09

As the odometer hit 2,000 miles, Amy asked what it was like to travel when my kids were young. I said when they were 4-months-old like Sorenne, they just slept all the time.

Sorenne didn’t sleep all the time.

And then it occurred to me that when my eldest, the 21-year-old, was 4-months-old, I didn’t have a car. I was a student and didn’t drive anywhere. Those other kids who slept all the time had a sister in the backseat to help take care of them.

About 3,000 miles, I told Amy to slap me upside the head the next time I suggested such a road trip.

Bite Me ’09 – five talks, 3,600 miles in 12 days, some golf and some beach – wrapped up with a fury of talks and mileage, Monday in Florida, Tuesday in Nashville, Wednesday in Springdale, Arkansas, with an encore at Wal-Mart HQ in Bentonville and a lovely drive home through the back roads of Kansas with the prairie on fire (ranchers burn grasslands in Kansas for weed control and to encourage new growth).

My short message in various forms was this:

The third-party food safety audit scheme that processors and retailers insisted upon is no better than a financial Ponzi scheme. The vast number of facilities and suppliers means audits are required, but people have been replaced by paper. Audits, inspections, training and systems are no substitute for developing a strong food safety culture, farm-to-fork, and marketing food safety directly to consumers rather than the local/natural/organic hucksterism is a way to further reinforce the food safety culture.

Thanks for all the great hospitality from the various folks along the way and the engaging conversations.

‘Back home, sit down and patch my bones, and get back truckin on.’