New technology that tracks air and food temperatures may be necessary for truckers carrying both refrigerated and non-refrigerated foods. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) continues to positively impact the sanitary transportation of food in the trucking industry. Although the new rule places most responsibility with food producers and processors, these industries are expected to work with trucking companies to maintain detailed records regarding transportation, storage, and distribution of their products.
According to the FDA, the rule regarding the sanitary transportation of human and animal food would affect the following areas:
Vehicles and Transportation Equipment and Operations – Equipment should be designed in a manner that prevents contamination of food in transit, and appropriate measures should be taken during operation of vehicles to ensure that food is kept at a safe temperature and not subjected to cross-contamination.
Information Exchange/Records – Clear communication strategies need to be employed by everyone involved in the food handling process. Shippers, carriers, and receivers need to communicate information regarding prior cargo, cleanliness of equipment, and temperature needs to ensure foods are kept fresh and avoid contamination from potential allergens present from prior loads.
Training – Carriers should be trained in proper food transportation methods to ensure sanitary conditions.
Waivers – Waivers may be granted by the FDA in cases where it has been determined that contamination is not a risk.
The new rule may require trucking companies to install two-way data communication and tracking devices that will monitor and control refrigeration. These devices would also allow temperature settings to be controlled remotely and record door open and close statuses. Integrated systems are the most beneficial, allowing communication between trailer tracking devices, microprocessors, telematics systems, and transportation management software. Stand-alone data loggers that attach to packages are also an option. These devices would stay with the package and monitor information from the point of origin to the destination.
Regulations to improve sanitation of food during transport have multiple benefits-food quality improves and monetary losses due to contaminated cargo decreases. Rapid advances in technology allow trucking companies to stay on the cutting edge and employ the most up-to-date devices, ensuring safe food transport.