As a part to protect the people from various illnesses resulting from food contamination during transportation because of unsanitary transportation practices, FDA issued a final rule on Sanitary Transportation of human and animal food. The Final rule is the sixth major rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The rule strengthens the Sanitary Food transportation Act (SFTA) of 2005 and establishes requirements to ensure the safety of the food.
The law specifically calls out transport by motor and rail vehicles, the regulations apply only to those means of transport and do not extend to transport by water or air. This rule builds on the current safe food transportation best practices and is focused on ensuring that person engaged in transportation follows appropriate sanitary transportation practices. FDA has shifted its focus to prevention of unsafe food and the regulations no longer are concerned with spoilage of food. Training requirements under the regulations are limited to training requirements for carriers that accept, pursuant to a written agreement with the shipper, responsibility for the sanitary conditions during the transportation operation.
The FDA FSMA Food Safety Technical Assistance is already operational to provide central source of information to support and help in implementation of FSMA. The Online training courses for the rule will be developed and will be available before the first compliance date for the final rule. The compliance date is April 6, 2017 for all businesses except for small businesses, which have until April 6, 2018 to comply.
The final rule is quite different from the proposed rule. Notably, it provides more flexibility for parties involved and exempts various parties that, under the proposed rule, would have been subject to the regulations. The final rule is less prescriptive than the proposed rule and clarifies that the controls required depend on the type of food and the production stage of the product transported.