WASHINGTON, D.C.: The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is to introduce new regulations that will impact the carriage and import of food into America.
The FDA's proposal is designed to prevent the physical, chemical or biological contamination of human and animal food during transportation by motor or rail by improperly refrigerating food, inadequately cleaning vehicles between loads and failing to properly protect food during transportation.
The rule, part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, will apply to shippers, receivers and carriers who transport food in the U.S. by motor or rail vehicle, whether or not the food is offered for or enters interstate commerce.
According to the international trade law firm of Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, the regulation will also apply to anyone who exports food to the U.S. by ocean or airfreight for eventual delivery via truck or rail.
Described as "sanitary transportation", the FDA has given shippers and logistics companies until May 31 to submit comments or provide recommendations on the proposed new rule. The agency warns that food imports could be banned if shippers don't comply.
Specific requirements would apply to the design and maintenance of vehicles and transportation equipment, measures taken during transportation to ensure food is not contaminated, exchanging information about prior cargos and cleaning of transportation equipment, training of carrier personnel, and maintenance of written procedures and records.
The law firm says the rule won't apply to the carriage of fully packaged shelf-stable foods completely enclosed by a container, live food animals, and raw agricultural commodities when transported by farms; food transshipped through the U.S. to another country or food imported for future export that is not consumed or distributed in the U.S.; or entities with less than $500,000 in annual sales or that have been granted a waiver by the FDA.