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U.S. Gov. Proposes New Rules for Transporting Food

SILVER SPRING, MD — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a rule requiring certain shippers, receivers and carriers who transport food by motor or rail vehicles to take steps to prevent the contamination of human and animal food during transportation.

The rule would apply to:

• International shippers who transport food for U.S. consumption or distribution in an international freight container by air or ocean and arrange for the transfer of the intact container onto a motor vehicle or rail vehicle in the United States.
• Shippers, carriers and receivers who transport food that will be consumed or distributed in the United States.
The rule will NOT apply to:
• Shippers, receivers or carriers engaged in food transportation operations that have less than $500,000 in total annual sales.
• Anyone transporting fully packaged shelf-stable foods, live food animals and raw agricultural commodities when transported by farms.
• Shippers, receivers or carriers who are engaged in transportation operations of food that is transshipped through the United States to another country, nor to food that is imported for future export and that is neither consumed nor distributed in the United States.

“This proposed rule will help reduce the likelihood of conditions during transportation that can lead to human or animal illness or injury,” said Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. “We are now one step closer to fully implementing the comprehensive regulatory framework for prevention that will strengthen the FDA’s inspection and compliance tools, modernize oversight of the nation’s food safety system, and prevent foodborne illnesses before they happen.”

The proposed regulation establishes sanitary transportation practices, such as properly refrigerating food, adequately cleaning vehicles between loads, and properly protecting food during transportation.

For example, the proposed rule requires that shippers inspect a vehicle for cleanliness prior to loading food that is not completely enclosed by its container, such as fresh produce in vented boxes, onto the vehicle.

The administration will discuss the proposed rule at three upcoming public meetings: Feb. 27, in Chicago; March 13, in Anaheim, Calif. and March 20, 2014 in College Park, Md. Comment period is open from Feb. 5 to March 31.

 
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