About a year ago the FDA issued the Food Safety Modernization Act Final Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food. The rule governs the activities of all shippers, loaders, carries (motor vehicle and rail (no boats, no planes)) and receivers engaged in the transportation of food (including animal food). Unlike many government regulations, the name isn’t misleading, the rule genuinely establishes sanitary practices for those transporting food to ensure that the transported food isn’t adulterated in transit. Some of the general types of risks addressed under the rule: refrigerating temperature sensitive foods; cleaning vehicles between loads; making sure foods to not touch non-food items during transit.
Back when the rule was passed, the Food and Drug Administration promised that it would publish waivers for restaurants and grocery stores that ship to consumers and for milk shipments that are inspected under the Grade “A” Milk Safety program of the National Conference on Interstate Milk Safety Shipments. They kept that promise and last week, the FDA has issued three new waivers to the Sanitary Transportation Rule for some businesses that are subject to separate State/Federal controls:
- Businesses holding valid permits that are inspected under the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments’ Grade “A” Milk Safety Program, only when transporting Grade “A” milk and milk products.
- Food establishments authorized by the regulatory authority to operate when engaged as receivers, or as shippers and carriers in operations in which food is delivered directly to consumers, or to other locations the establishments or affiliates operate that serve or sell food directly to consumers. (Examples include restaurants, supermarkets and home grocery delivery services.)
- Businesses transporting molluscan shellfish (such as oysters, clams, mussels or scallops) that are certified and inspected under the requirements established by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference’s (ISSC) National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) and that transport the shellfish in vehicles permitted under ISSC authority.
You can access the Final Rule’s changes regarding the waivers here.