This question has come up frequently in our FSMA Sanitary Transportation workshop. Just as with all the parts of FSMA, the focus of the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food regulation is on addressing hazards that may be present throughout the food chain and assigning responsibility (liability) for preventing those hazards. There are very few specific requirements—most of it is couched in very general language, for flexibility on both sides (FDA’s and industry’s).
While the regulation does not specifically address locks or seals on trailers, the FDA has stated publicly that they intend to enforce the adherence of industry to generally accepted best practices. Sometimes, as in the case of certain animal food applications, the FDA has stated they will accept mild steel transports instead of stainless (as would typically be required for hauling food) because it’s all about the risk, and mild steel is not a risk in those applications. What is the risk of an unlocked load to the food being hauled, and to the business being conducted? Maybe a seal or lock on an LTL can protect a significant investment from an identified hazard.
Generally, in most food hauling operations, seals or locks are required on trailers by businesses in order to protect their investments. They are also expected under GFSI-approved food safety management systems, used by most food manufacturers (which are private, voluntary standards, not regulatory). They are definitely required if you want to haul 100% juice under Juice HACCP and the JPA guidelines.
There are so few straightforward answers with FSMA. You must always look at your operation, your risks, and decide if controls are necessary. Document the basis for your decision, ensuring it is based on facts. If the FDA inquires, you must make your case for your decision. Do you feel comfortable defending it, all the way to a court of law if need be? If so, then stand by it.
If there are potential risks to food that is being hauled (don’t forget about defense-type risks as well, like the truck being stolen or misrepresented) then you must take reasonable, industry-standard precautions to prevent those hazards from occurring.
Of course, you want to do this anyway because it is smart business.
The supply chain is a potentially weak and vulnerable part of a company’s food safety plan. The annual Food Safety Supply Chain Conference is months away and we are accepting abstracts for presentations. The conference takes place May 29–30, 2019 in Rockville, MD.
If you have expertise in the following areas, we invite you to submit an abstract to present at the conference:
The results are in for the latest FSMA IQ test about the sanitary transportation rule. If you haven’t taken the test yet, visit the survey here. Results are posted below.
Data sets must be shared between shippers, carriers, loaders & receivers to ensure rules are properly implemented. TRUE
76.04% answered correctly
Employee training is not a requirement for the shipping of food product. FALSE
98.97% answered correctly
Only the personnel of the carriers transporting food product require training and training records. FALSE
89.58% answered correctly
Records of certified disposal of food freight loss and damage must be maintained and verified. TRUE
93.81% answered correctly
Foreign-supplied shipments should include records that comprise the listing of all required information to confirm the safety of the product being shipped and the shipping instructions to protect the product during shipment. TRUE
98.95% answered correctly
Shippers need not develop and implement written procedures to ensure compliance of food shipments unless the carrier has entered into a written agreement with the shipper to assume this responsibility. FALSE
77.08% answered correctly
Shipper & carrier can agree to a condition & temperature monitoring mechanism for foods that requires temperature control for safety. TRUE
91.67% answered correctly
Carriers need not demonstrate that they have maintained requested condition & temperature conditions. FALSE
92.55% answered correctly
Carriers must disclose identity of most recent prior bulk cargo & cleaning information prior to the next shipment. TRUE
90.63% answered correctly
It is the receiver of food shipments that ensures food is not be sold or distributed until a determination of safety is made? TRUE
The FSMA Sanitary Transportation of Human & Animal Food rule has a broad level of requirements that must be met across the various steps of transporting food product. Do you know the correct response to these questions?
Working with Bill Bremer, principal of food safety compliance at Kestrel Management, LLC, Food Safety Tech is continuing its FSMA IQ test series. Results will be posted monthly in our Food Safety Consortium newsletter leading up to the 2017 event.
Confirm your company responsibility in meeting FSMA Sanitary Transportation compliance by answering True or False.
FDA announced today that it has submitted the final FSMA rule, Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food, to the Federal Register for publication. It can take a few days for the documents to be available, so stay tuned for updates from Food Safety Tech once the final rule is available.
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