In 2011, President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), in an effort to improve food safety and monitor food handling regulations more closely. After years of inactivity, the FSMA rule has been made final, presenting a host of new challenges for shippers, carriers, and supply chain professionals.

The newly enacted legislation places a focus on prevention-related measures from farm to table, pertaining specifically to transportation. In order to decrease the risk of food contamination during transportation, the new rule requires shippers, loaders, carriers, and receivers involved in transporting food to use the highest standard of sanitary practices. It should be noted, that these requirements exclude transportation by ship or air.

The FSMA rule requires strict adherence to various shipper-defined requirements in order to keep the food safe and unaltered during transportation. If any specific requirements are not met by shippers, the receiving facility is unable to accept the product into their facility. Thus, if you don’t remain compliant, companies could potentially lose a lot of money.

To ensure you meet compliance, we’ve compiled a guide with everything you need to know about FSMA rules and regulations.

 

Who does FSMA affect?

The new FSMA act has few exceptions.  The rule applies to shippers, receivers, loaders and carriers who transport food in the U.S. Also effected, are any shippers who transport food into the country (from Canada or Mexico). However, the rule does not apply to shippers or exporters who ship food from the U.S. to surrounding countries by motor or rail.

 

What should 3PLs do comply?

Asset-based carriers will of course need to comply. Straight 3PLs without any of their own assets will need to reexamine their truck procurement process and approved-carrier list to make sure that the trucks you broker in to pick up food loads are in compliance. Expect food customers to begin asking, and to begin requiring new paperwork to prove that the trucks you’re sending in are in full compliance.

 

When does it take effect?

The deadline to meet compliance requirements varies. For instance, if you are a small business that employs less than 500 people and motor carriers, then you have up to two years to comply.

See the referenced compliance sheet from GMA.org for a breakdown.

Here’s a PDF with the breakdown.

 

Key Requirement Categories

Vehicle & Transportation Equipment
Vehicles must be suitable and adequately cleaned for the use of food transportation. They must be able to maintain the necessary temperatures to ensure safe transport of human or animal food.

Operations
During transportation, the measures taken throughout the operation must be in compliance with the new rule in order to ensure food safety.  Here are some of the key elements:

  • Temperature Control and Monitoring – Proper refrigeration or temperature control of all food products
  • Cross- Contamination – Correct management of transportation units and storage facilities to prevent cross-contamination. This includes meeting proper sanitation requirements and the correct segregating of foods vs. non-foods in the same area to eliminate any potential risk.
  • Food Safety Plan – A specific food safety plan must be put in place that is documented and being followed by all parties involved.

Training
Specific training of carrier personnel must be upheld and documented. Once the training in completed, the carrier is responsible for all sanitary conditions during the transport of the products.

Records
All procedures must be highly documented. This includes written procedures and processes, any legal agreements, and training documentation.  Usually, it’s necessary to file these documents for at least 12 months following transportation.
For more information and the official FSMA Rule on Sanitary Transportation, please visit FDA.gov