Last week the FDA released a final rule regarding sanitation standards for those involved in the process of food transportation. The rule includes an important exception for small companies – it doesn’t pertain to carriers, shippers, and receivers with less than $500,000 in total annual revenue.
Key requirements for carriers under the new final rule dicate that carriers and drivers alike are responsible for:
- Ensuring their refrigerated trailers are pre-cooled prior to loading food
- Providing proof they’ve maintained the appropriate temperature for the food they’re hauling when it is requested of them
- Developing and implementing procedures that specify their practices for cleaning, sanitizing and inspecting their equipment
Additionally, the new rule requires that shippers inspect carriers’ trailers prior to loading food products and that “appropriate” action is taken to ensure that the food is not sold if any party becomes aware of any indication that a shipment of food was not kept at the proper temperature throughout its shipment. Shippers will now also be required to give carriers written sanitation requirements for their vehicles and require shippers to keep records showing they’ve done as much.
The FDA says the rule isn’t likely to have a dramatic impact on carrier and shipper practices – rather that it codifies already existing best practices for food shipments and assists in the process of punishing those who don’t take the necessary steps to comply.
The rule goes into effect in April of 2017. To learn more about transportation regulatory compliance, contact us.