Compliance Dates Approaching for the FSMA Food Transportation Rule

March 29, 2017 Comments Off on Compliance Dates Approaching for the FSMA Food Transportation Rule

Food transportation in, or to, the United States, including shipments from Mexico or Canada, must soon comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) food transportation rule.

Compliance Dates 

Generally, the effective compliance date for this new FSMA rule is April 6, 2017. However, small businesses have until April 6, 2018, to comply. The rule defines a small business as a motor carrier having less than $27.5 million in annual receipts, or businesses other than motor carriers who are not also shippers and/or receivers which employ fewer than 500 people.

The FMSA rule creates new requirements for vehicles and transportation equipment, transportation operations, record keeping, and safety training related to food transportation. The goal of the rule is to prevent contamination in the food supply chain.

Who is covered by the new FSMA rule?

This final FSMA rule applies to shippers, receivers, loaders, and carriers who transport food in, or to, the United States. This includes carriers from Mexico or Canada if their food loads are to be consumed or distributed in the U.S. If food from Canada or Mexico is shipped through the U.S., but does not enter U.S. distribution, those shipments are not subject to the rule. Companies who are involved in food transportation intended for export are also expected to comply with the FSMA rule until their shipment reaches a U.S. port or border.

New Requirements

The new FSMA rule’s regulations apply to equipment, food handling and transportation operations, training of carrier personnel, and record keeping.

  • Vehicles and transportation equipment: Vehicles and transportation equipment must be designed and maintained to ensure they do not cause transported food to become unsafe.  At the most basic level, vehicles and equipment acceptable for food transport use must be clean, pest-free, food grade, and non-hazmat. Additional precautions must be taken when food products have special designations such as Kosher, organic, etc.
  • Transportation operations: Measures must be taken during food transportation to ensure safety such as adequate temperature controls; preventing contamination of ready-to-eat food from touching raw food; protection of food from contamination by non-food items in the same load or previous load; and protection of food from cross-contact, such as the unintentional incorporation of a food allergen.
  • Training: Personnel must be trained in sanitary food transportation practices and training must be documented. Unless specifically agreed upon by both the carrier and the shipper, the shipper retains primary responsibility for maintaining sanitary supply chain conditions.
  • Records: Records must be maintained showing written procedures, agreements and training (required of carriers). The required retention time for these records will not exceed 12 months in most instances, but depends upon the type of record and when the covered activity occurred.

Working with a carrier that has expertise in food safety can help shippers navigate the regulatory environment and mitigate food safety risks in the supply chain. For a detailed explanation of the rule’s requirements, compliance procedures, and enforcement, download J.B. Hunt’s white paper, Navigating the Food Safety Modernization Act: A Guide to Transporting Food Safely.

To view the FSMA rule in its entirety, browse the topical table of contents found in the Federal Register.

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