In recent FSMA news, the latest deadline for compliance with the FSMA Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food rule is swiftly approaching. By April 6, 2018, small businesses are expected to be in compliance with the rule in order to pass FDA inspections. The rule has been in effect for entities not classified as small businesses for nearly a year, since April 6, 2017. The main components of the rule cover vehicles and transportation equipment, transportation operations, training, and records. You can read the rule in its entirety here (https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/04/06/2016-07330/sanitary-transportation-of-human-and-animal-food).
Who is Covered?
Though there are some exceptions, the final rule applies to shippers, receivers, loaders and carriers who transport food in the United States by motor or rail vehicle, whether or not the food is offered for or enters interstate commerce. It also applies to shippers in other countries who ship food to the United States directly by motor or rail vehicle (from Canada or Mexico) or by ship or air and arrange for the transfer of the container onto a motor or rail vehicle for transportation within the U.S.
The goal of this rule is to ensure that appropriate preventive measures are taken throughout production and distribution processes, particularly in light of recent outbreaks of food-related illnesses over the past few years. The parameters that must be met differ depending on the kind of food in question (produce, grains, etc.), with varying degrees of stringency depending on the product being transported. Such regulation aims to build on the foundations for safe and sanitary transportation laid in the 2005 Sanitary Food Transportation Act, as well as promote the FDA’s ultimate goal of maintaining public health.
A Focus on Transportation
Unlike other subsections of FSMA, this component is not relevant to the growing or harvesting processes of food production, honing in instead on the path that the food takes on its way to consumers. In particular, this includes the shippers, receivers, loaders, and carriers in the U.S., as well as those that import food that is intended to be distributed or consumed in the United States. In addition, the rule only applies to motor and rail vehicles that operate on land, and does not extend to transportation methods that traverse the sky or sea.
As deadlines surface, it can be beneficial to double-check and make sure you haven’t missed anything amidst the red tape and regulations. Below are some helpful links that may help you on the way to compliance.