Refrigerated carriers face a bevy of new mandates governing not only the condition and operation of equipment used transport foodstuffs but the capture and preservation of shipment temperatures, along with driver training requirements, due to go into effect March 31.
The new rules devolve from the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama back in 2011, noted Don Durm, director of strategic customer solutions for PLM Trailer Leasing, during a panel discussion at the 2016 Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) meeting last week in Las Vegas.
“It really should be called the ‘Food Safety Documentation Act’ because there is nothing really new in it in terms of ‘modernization,’” Drum said. “But what it does is involve the FDA [the U.S. Food and Drug Administration] in the food supply chain as an enforcement agency. So why you need to pay attention to this [FSMA] is due to two words: criminal prosecution.”
He noted that while shippers and receivers are the main targets of the FSMA, refrigerated carriers become involved as the new rules require detailed temperature data to be collected and maintained, while imposing equipment and driving requirements as well.
Drum noted that refrigerated carriers are affected in three broad areas:
•It will tighten sanitary cleaning requirements of said trailers;
•There will be a “pre-cool” requirement for many shipments;
•Temperature tracking will be mandated;
•Data exchange and retention will be mandated;
•Driver food safety training will be required and a record of that training must be kept on file for access upon request.
This is all part of a switch from the FDA reporting food contamination to taking an active role in preventing it. As a result, R. Fenton May, chairman of telematics provider CarrierWeb – who co-presented with PLM’s Durm – urged refrigerated carriers to be proactive with their customers about the impending rules.