The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has introduced a draft rule that seeks to address food safety risks in transportation by requiring shippers, receivers and carriers across the food supply chain to take measures to prevent contamination of food products during motor or rail shipments.
The proposal is the seventh and final key rule that forms the backbone of the FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The act aims to create a more effective safety system in the U.S. food supply chain that will focus on prevention.
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The draft rule sets specific criteria for safe transportation of food, such as refrigeration standards, thorough cleaning of the vehicles between loads and adequate handling of food products during shipments. It will apply to all shippers, carriers and receivers who distribute food to be consumed in the United States, even if the food products are imported in the country.
The rule will be open for public comment until the end of May 2014.
Michael Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, explained that the rule would help to minimize the risk of spreading foodborne diseases and contamination during transportation of human or animal food products. It is the next step towards full implementation of the preventive regulatory framework that the FDA is developing to modernize the nation's food safety system.