The FDA has been releasing final rules to govern various links in the food safety chain since 2015. In their February 2016 announcement, the sixth set of rules covers food transportation safety. While the FDA website provides a summary fact sheet for the Sanitary Transportation Rule, it’s important to understand that key compliance dates vary for different segments.
You can read the full text of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Sanitary Transportation Rule here, but below is a key section:
SEC. 111. SANITARY TRANSPORTATION OF FOOD
(a) In General. <<NOTE: Deadline. Regulations. 21 USC 350e note.>> --Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this act, the Secretary shall promulgate regulations described in section 416(b) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 350e(b)).
(b) Food Transportation Study.--The Secretary, acting through the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, shall conduct a study of the transportation of food for consumption in the United States, including transportation by air, that includes an examination of the unique needs of rural and frontier areas with regard to the delivery of safe food.
FSMA builds on the previous work and best practices of the industry; those who have made food safety a priority will find compliance easy. For those who have not kept abreast of the latest regulations or have let their HACCP plans get dusty or rusty, it’s time to bring them up to par. For those previously not covered by the regulations there may be a significant amount of work to do. So how long does each segment of the food transportation chain have to comply?
The FDA Factsheet offers the following summary regarding compliance dates:
Compliance dates are as follows and recognize that businesses, especially small businesses may need more time to comply with the requirements and are adjusted accordingly.
- 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 would have to comply two years after the publication of the final rule.
- Other Businesses - a business that is not small and is not otherwise excluded from coverage would have to comply one year after the publication of the final rule.
It is expected larger carriers, those with up-to-date food safety and HACCP practices will have an easier time meeting the rule therefore will need to comply in one year. Smaller carriers may need more time. Of course, none of this means that food safety can be put at risk for the next year or two, only that regulators will allow additional time to meet new regulations.
Figure 2. Food transporters have one or two years to meet new regulations. (Image)
April 6, 2018
Fewer than 500 full-time equivalent employees
Revenues less than $27.5 million
April 6, 2017
500 or more full-time equivalent employees
Revenues of $27.5 million or greater
Food safety professionals may want to mark their calendars to remind themselves of their compliance date. And that’s just the start. Reviewing current procedures and practices in light of all of the rules, making sure current procedures and practices are being followed and adding new procedures and practices where needed all takes time. There is no time like to present to start, particularly when some may need outside resources to assist with development and implementation.
One key provision of any plan is robust data collection and record keeping. For cold chain food safety compliance, automatic temperature monitoring and data collection is a sure way to meet regulatory requirements. Add to this fault-tolerant email, text and phone alerts or alarms when things go out of control and cloud based data collection, reporting for a complete solution. TempAlert’s ZPoint Wireless Sensors, Cellular Edition Gateways and secure Sensor Cloud data collection and storage help large and small food transporters meet their needs.