Food transporters have food safety guidance

Guidance for Industry – Sanitary Transportation of Food

This guidance document sets forth FDA’s current thoughts on guidance for food transporters.   I have highlighted a few areas and the whole document is linked above.  NC MarketReady Fresh Produce Safety Curriculum – Tier 2 training include this guidance in ongoing trainings across NC ( to find a training near you, visit http://www.ncfreshproducesafety.org under “Trainings & Events”).

In the discussion,  problem areas for contamination  (physical, chemical, or biological)  during food transport are highlighted:

  • Improper refrigeration or temperature control of food products (temperature abuse).
  • Improper management of transportation units (or storage facilities used during transport) to preclude cross-contamination, including improper sanitation, backhauling hazardous materials, not maintaining tanker wash records, improper disposal of wastewater, and aluminum phosphide fumigation methods in railcar transit;
  • Improper packing of transportation units (or storage facilities used during transport), including incorrect use of packing materials and poor pallet quality;
  • Improper loading practices, conditions, or equipment, including improper sanitation of loading equipment, not using dedicated units where appropriate, inappropriate loading patterns, and transporting mixed loads that increase the risk for cross-contamination;
  • Improper unloading practices, conditions, or equipment, including improper sanitation of equipment and leaving raw materials on loading docks after hours;
  • Poor pest control in transportation units (or storage facilities used during transport);
  • Lack of driver/employee training and/or supervisor/manager/owner knowledge of food safety and/or security;
  • Poor transportation unit design and construction;
  • Inadequate preventive maintenance for transportation units (or storage facilities used during transport), resulting in roof leaks, gaps in doors, and dripping condensation or ice accumulations;
  • Poor employee hygiene;
  • Inadequate policies for the safe and/or secure transport (or storage during transport) of foods, e.g., lack of or improper use of security seals;
  • Improper handling and tracking of rejected loads and salvaged, reworked, and returned products or products destined for disposal; and
  • Improper holding practices for food products awaiting shipment or inspection, including unattended product, delayed holding of product, shipping of product while in quarantine, and poor rotation and throughput.

Recommendations on priority areas for transporter to concentrate efforts include:

  • To address some of the problems enumerated above, we recommend that persons engaged in food transport concentrate their efforts at this time on the following, broadly applicable preventive controls:
  • Appropriate temperature control during transport;
  • Sanitation, including:
    • Monitoring and ensuring the sanitation and condition of transportation vehicles as appropriate;
    • Pest control; and
    • Sanitation associated with loading/unloading procedures;
  • Appropriate packaging/packing of food products and transportation units (e.g., good quality pallets, correct use of packing materials);
  • Good communications between shipper, transporter and receiver; and
  • Employee awareness and training.
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