What Shippers Need to Know About the Sanitary Transportation of Food Final Rule

What Shippers Need to Know About the Sanitary Transportation of Food Final Rule

February 9, 2017

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally ran on Transportfolio in April 2016. With the upcoming implementation of the Sanitary Transportation Rule, we wanted to recirculate the seven things to know about this rule.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released text for the final rule for the Sanitary Transportation of Food as required by the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act. There were some significant changes made in response to comments when compared to the draft rule.

Here are some quick things to know regarding this widely anticipated rule:

  • Primary Focus: The primary focus of this rule is fresh food that is in open containers, like clam shells or slotted crates, as well as liquid food shipped in bulk. Products completely enclosed in sealed packaging that do not require refrigeration for safety are excluded. The FDA drew a very clear line between temperature control for safety and temperature control for quality. For example, canned beverages that have “keep from freezing” instructions would be exempt. Remember that packaged, shelf-stable food is exempt.
  • Inspections: The FDA loosened the requirements for trailer inspections and no longer requires a physical inspection. Other arrangements that ensure safe trailers are acceptable.
  • Temperature Monitoring: Continuous temperature monitoring is not a requirement of this rule. The FDA left wide flexibility in the methods and frequency of monitoring that may frustrate some shippers who desire more specific instructions. The FDA places responsibility for the details of temperature monitoring on the shipper who knows their product and safety requirements the best.
  • Deviations in Temperature: Small deviations in temperature readings are specifically allowable and will not lead to full load claims.
  • No Hand Washing Facilities: No hand washing facilities will be required as the draft rule proposed. The FDA eliminated this proposed requirement.
  • Compliance Dates: Most shippers and brokers with product that falls under this rule will require compliance for all carriers in April 2017 while small business carriers have until April 2018 to comply.
  • Seals: Seals are specifically not required by this rule.

The FDA is clear that this rule is not intended to impose significant new requirements in the industry.
See Comment 129 and the FDA’s response to learn more about the requirements around temperature monitoring and what happens with deviations in temperature.

Look for more details in the near future across the industry press.

This post was co-written with Chris McLoughlin, risk manager at C.H. Robinson.

Jason Craig

Jason Craig - Manager, Government Affairs, C.H. Robinson

Jason has over 15 years of industry experience and a deep understanding of government policies. He monitors regulatory and legislative affairs impacting the transportation and produce industries for C.H. Robinson. Jason is a graduate of Carleton College and serves as an election judge in the City of Minneapolis.

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