April 13, 2016
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued its final rule establishing new requirements for the sanitary transportation of human and animal food by truck and rail, to guard against food contamination.
The rule obligates shippers, loaders, rail and motor carriers and receivers engaged in food transportation and freight brokers when they initiate food shipments.
It also addresses requirements for training, records and waivers.
The agency said the rule, which is the result of congressional mandates, was written in response to a number of incidents of unsanitary transportation practices over the past few decades.
For the first time, violators can be punished criminally.
Practices that create risk of food adulteration include improper refrigeration, inadequate cleaning of vehicles between loads and the failure to otherwise properly protect food during transportation, the agency said in its rule published in the Federal Register on April 6.
Large companies will be required to comply with the new regulation one year after publication, while smaller firms will have two years to comply.
Many carriers and shippers were still analyzing the 283-page rule last week, but there were early indications that the final version offers more flexibility for truckers than the original proposal.