May 2, 2016

FDA Finalizes Rules on Food Transport

The FDA recently issued final rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) setting new requirements for the sanitary transportation of human and animal food.

As explained in this FDA fact sheet, the rules generally apply to shippers, receivers, loaders, and carriers who transport food in the U.S. by motor or rail vehicle. They also apply to shippers from other countries who ship food to the U.S. for distribution here. There are certain exemptions, such as for small companies and transportation by farms. The rules do not apply to transportation by ship or air.

The rules set requirements for vehicles and transportation equipment, operations, records, training, and waivers. Businesses subject to the rules have one or two years to comply, depending on their size.

For example, the rules require:

  • vehicles and transportation equipment to be suitable and adequately cleanable for its intended use and capable of maintaining temperatures necessary to safely transport food;
  • specified safety measures, such as temperature controls and protecting food from contamination; and
  • training of carrier personnel when the carrier and shipper agree that the carrier is responsible to maintain sanitary conditions during transport.
The FDA intends to publish waivers, under certain conditions, for companies who are:

  • subject to inspection under the Grade “A” Milk Safety program or
  • food establishments with valid permits issued by a state or tribal agency (such as restaurants or supermarkets), for operations in which food is relinquished to customers after transport.