Foodborne illness is a serious cause for concern. Each year in the U.S., millions of people get sick each year from foodborne diseases. This is a significant public health burden that is largely preventable.
For the transportation and logistics industry, this is a cause for concern due to the high volume of product that is transported via trucks. In the past, the transportation of food and beverages was largely unregulated, but the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) changed that by creating regulations to monitor the supply chain. Whether the outbreak stems from the farm, the transportation or the shelf life, someone takes the blame for causing a foodborne illness outbreak.
For the transportation industry, the seven regulations of the FSMA are fairly recent, having only gone into effect in 2017. This presented a new set of challenges that shippers and carriers quickly had to adapt to.
What do the FSMA Food Safety Regulations Include?
The rules are intended to define specific actions that must be taken in each of these areas to prevent contamination. The trucking industry has to follow strict regulations to ensure that food is properly handled throughout the transportation process. This includes:
- Temperature control/tracking: For refrigerated products, every storage compartment must be pre-cooled and have a temperature monitoring device. Shippers must also define temperature specifications to be met throughout transportation.
- Temperature certification/data exchange: A log of temperature conditions for the duration of the transportation must be provided to the receiver/shipper by the carrier upon request.
- Cleanliness: Vehicles must be maintained in a sanitary condition and are subject to inspection. Loading/unloading stations must have handwashing facilities.
- Training: Carriers must provide basic sanitary transportation practice training to their personnel.
- Data Retention: All records must be stored for a period of 12 months.
While transportation is just one aspect of the supply chain in the food and beverage industry, it is an area that is just as important as any other. Considering that transportation is one-third of the supply chain – from farms, to transportation, to stores/restaurants before reaching consumers – all parties are tasked with working together under the regulations outlined by the FSMA to ensure that food reaches consumers in a safe manner and to prevent foodborne illnesses.
To learn more about the FSMA and how it effects the transportation and logistics industry, please read our eBook, “FSMA Smart.”