It’s estimated that carriers incur an annual loss of six per cent due to spoiled cargo, at an average loss of $100,000 per incident. In general terms, approximately 12 per cent of food waste occurs during distribution, mainly due to refrigeration issues.
In transportation, food contamination can be caused by unsanitary vehicle or equipment, from prior food cargo, and improper temperature control. The new focus of the FDA is prevention of these issues. Carriers, shippers and receivers have direct responsibility for maintaining food safety under the Food Safety Management Act (FSMA).
The FDA began working on seven new FSMA rules in January 2013. The Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food rule was finalized in April 2016. It’s been in effect for large carriers since April 2017 and most smaller carriers will need to comply with the rule starting in April 2018.
The Sanitary Transportation rule is designed to address risks to food safety during loading, transportation and unloading. Examples are not properly refrigerating food, not cleaning vehicles between loads and not properly protecting food. It builds on the 2005 Sanitary Food Transportation Act. It covers food regulated by the FDA including pet food, food additives and supplements. Exemptions are compressed food gases, human food by-products for animal use without further processing, food in an enclosed container that doesn’t need to be kept cold, and live food animals but not molluscan shellfish. Grade A milk is also exempt.
The FDA cites the following foods that require temperature control for safety:
- Meat, poultry, fish and other foods of animal origin
- Foods of plant origin that have been cooked
- Leafy greens, melons and tomatoes that have been cut
- Garlic in oil mixtures
These foods can mitigate safety issues if they canned for long term transportation.
Motor carriers with less than 500 employees or between $500,000 and $27.5 Million in annual receipts have until April 6, 2018 to comply with the rule. Carriers or businesses with less than $500,000 in annual revenue are exempt. The rule does not apply if carriers are driving through the US, for example from Canada to Mexico. For supermarkets, restaurants and home grocery delivery services are also exempt.
Carriers need to meet the following criteria to comply with the Sanitary Transportation rule:
- Vehicle and equipment are suitable and easily cleaned for their intended use
- Pre-cool the equipment
- Capable of maintaining temperatures for the safe transportation of food.
- Prevent cross-contamination of food, such as ready-to-eat with raw.
- Show that it has maintained temperature during transportation.
- Share data that shows temperature at loading, unloading and during transportation
- Training of carrier personnel and documentation that the training is complete.
- Maintenance of written versions of procedures, agreements and training for up to 12 months.
CloudHawk helps you prepare for FSMA compliance by offering innovative solutions that provides real-time, multi-zone temperature tracking. The sensors are easy to install and hide.
Get real-time notifications when temperatures exit a target range and use an optional door sensor to gain even greater visibility. Most importantly, maintain access to historical temperature reports that cover the entire trip from loading, in-transit and unloading.
FDA Inspectors are actively checking large carriers for FSMA compliance and smaller carriers have until April 6, 2018 to comply.
Contact the CloudHawk team for advice on becoming FSMA compliance or a free trial.