In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food. The purpose of this rule is to protect farm-to-table foods by ensuring safe practices to avoid contamination during transportation. This is one of seven rules initiated by the FSMA since 2011 that establishes a foundational framework for food safety. In this blog, we’ll break down the importance of the Sanitary Transportation Rule as well as how it impacts transportation. 


About the Sanitary Transportation Rule 

The goal of the Sanitary Transportation Rule is to prevent and regulate food safety risks that deal with vehicle and trailer refrigeration, cleanliness, sanitization, and protection. Without these food safety methods in place, it can result in contaminated food and food-borne illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 48 million people get sick from food-borne diseases in the U.S. each year. Many of which are traced back to unsanitary transportation practices, so therefore, regulations were needed to ensure safe food practices during that process. 


Impact on Transportation

The Sanitary Transportation Rule specifically put requirements in place for shippers, loaders, carriers, and receivers who transport food by motor or rail in the U.S. For these specified companies, they needed to develop programs for compliance and document verification steps to meet the regulatory food safety requirements. These requirements involve the design and maintenance of the equipment being used, transportation operations, personnel training, and recording.


Here are the key requirements of the Sanitary Transportation Rule:

  • Vehicles and transportation equipment: The design and maintenance of vehicles and transportation equipment to ensure that it does not cause the food that it transports to become unsafe. For example, they must be suitable and adequately cleanable for their intended use and capable of maintaining temperatures necessary for the safe transport of food. (FDA, 2018)
  • Transportation operations: The measures taken during transportation to ensure food safety, such as adequate temperature controls, preventing contamination of ready to eat food from touching raw food, protection of food from contamination by non-food items in the same load or previous load, and protection of food from cross-contact, i.e., the unintentional incorporation of a food allergen. (FDA, 2018)
  • Training: Training of carrier personnel in sanitary transportation practices and documentation of the training. Carriers covered by the rule are required to provide food safety training to transportation operations personnel when the carrier and shipper agree that the carrier is responsible for sanitary conditions during transport. (FDA, 2018)
  • Records: Maintenance of records of written procedures, agreements, and training (required of carriers). The required retention time for these records depends upon the type of record and when the covered activity occurred but does not exceed 12 months. (FDA, 2018)

Those who do not comply with the rules will be fined and receive criminal penalties from the FDA.


Waivers and Exemptions

The Sanitary Food Transportation Act waives the rule for three types of businesses that are subject to federal, state, or local regulations and inspections. These waivers include businesses and transportation of milk, shellfish, and food establishments. In addition, businesses of less than $500,000 annual revenue, farming, compressed gases, and many others are exempt from the rule. To learn more about these waivers and exemptions, visit FDA’s FSMA Final Rule webpage. 


Closing Thoughts

As a bulk liquid carrier of food and kosher products, Liquid Trucking adheres to and complies with FSMA’s Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food requirements. Food safety is of the utmost importance, and we commit ourselves to promote and provide the best transportation practices. In addition to food and kosher transportation, we haul agricultural and farming materials as well as hazmat and chemical materials. Our company services the continental U.S. and Canada. To get a quote, please call 844-GO-TANKS.