Almost all food that we buy in the grocery store is transported either by truck or rail. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will soon require that vehicles and transportation equipment be suitable and cleanable to assure the safe transport of food.
This new transport rule applies to shippers, receivers, loaders and carriers who transport food in the United States by truck or rail. It also applies to shippers in other countries who ship food to the United States. The transport rule establishes requirements for vehicles and transportation equipment, transportation operations, records, training and waivers.
Measures that must be taken to assure the safe transport of food include 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 loads, and protection of food from cross-contact with food allergens.
Shippers, receivers, loaders and carriers will require training in sanitary transportation practices, and documentation of the training.
Transportation activities performed by a farm are excluded by the transport rule. In other words, transporting grain from the farm in a truck, or live animals to a sale, will not require compliance with the transport rule. However, farms are still subject to other rules that prohibit the holding of human food under unsanitary conditions.
Companies that ship food, or carriers of food, should be aware that the entire food chain is changing with an emphasis on avoiding hazards that may lead to unsafe food.