How the Proposed Food Safety Act Will Affect Motor Carriers

As part of a larger reform of food safety, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is under a court-ordered deadline to produce a final ruling on the Sanitary Transport of Human and Animal Food rule (STHAF) by March 31, 2016. If enacted, STHAF will establish criteria and definitions that will apply in determining whether food will be deemed contaminated due to shipping, receiving or transportation practices, in a motor vehicle or rail vehicle, placing food in conditions that are not in compliance with sanitary food transportation regulations. Just last week, Congress and the Obama administration took heat for turning their backs on food safety regulation, primarily due to stinted funding. Despite the loss of momentum, a ruling is expected to be made for the transportation sector next year and shippers and motor carriers will need to be ready. Under the food safety act, motor carriers would have to adhere to the following requirements:

Vehicle Equipment Requirements 

1.  The design of vehicles and transportation equipment used in transportation operations, the materials used in materials used in their manufacture and their workmanship to be suitable and that they are adequately cleanable for their intended use to prevent the food that they transport from becoming filthy, putrid, decomposed or otherwise unfit for food.

2.  Vehicles and equipment be maintained in such a sanitary condition as to prevent food that they transport from becoming filthy, putrid decomposed or otherwise unfit for food.

3.  Vehicles and equipment used in transportation operations that can support the rapid growth of undesirable microorganisms, be so designed, maintained, and equipped to be able to maintain the food under temperature conditions that will prevent it from supporting such microbial growth

4.  Each freezer and mechanically refrigerated cold storage compartment in vehicles or equipment for food that can support the rapid growth of undesirable microorganisms, be equipped with an indicating thermometer, temperature-measuring device, or temperature-recording device to show the temperature accurately within the compartment.

5.  Vehicles and equipment are stored in such a manner as to prevent the harboring of pest or becoming contaminated in any other way.

6.  Cleaned and sanitized portable equipment with food-contact surfaces and utensils be stored in a location and manner that protects food-contact surfaces from contamination.

Transportation Operations

1.  Require carriers to supply a vehicle and transportation equipment that meets any requirements specified by the shipper in accordance with proposed rule and is otherwise appropriate to prevent food from becoming filthy, putrid, decomposed, or otherwise unfit for food.

2. Require carriers to establish requirements relevant to the maintenance of temperature control of foods.

3.  Require carrier to demonstrate to shipper and receiver (if requested) after the transportation move, to show that the carrier maintained temperature conditions consistent with those specified by the shipper. Unless the carrier and shipper have agreed in writing that, the “shipper” is responsible for monitoring the temperature conditions.

4.  Require that before offering a vehicle or transportation equipment with an auxiliary refrigeration unit for the transportation of food, a carrier must pre-cool each mechanically refrigerated freezer and cold storage compartment as specified by the shipper.

5.  Require  carrier that offers a bulk vehicle for food transportation to provide information to the shipper that identifies the three previous cargoes transported in the vehicle.

6.  Require carrier that offers a bulk vehicle for food transportation to provide information to the shipper that describes the most recent cleaning of the bulk vehicle.

7.  Require carriers to develop and implement specified written procedures subject to the records requirements.

8.  Require written procedures to specify practices for cleaning, sanitizing if necessary, and inspecting vehicles and transportation equipment that the carrier provides for use in transportation of food.

9.  Require written procedures that describe how the carrier will comply with the provisions for temperature control

10.  Require written procedures that describe how the carrier will comply with the provisions for the use of bulk vehicles as discussed earlier.


1.  Require carriers to provide training to personnel engaged in transportation operations that provides an awareness of potential food safety problems that may occur during food transportation, basic sanitary transportation practices to address those potential problems, and the responsibilities of the carrier under this proposed rule. This training would be required upon hiring and as needed thereafter.

2.  Require carriers to establish and maintain records that document required training of personnel. Such records would be required to include the date of the training, the type of training, and the person(s) trained.


1.  Require shippers to retain records that demonstrate that they provide information as required in Section 1908 for a period of 12-months beyond when the shipper is subject to any requirement to provide such information.

2.  Require carriers to retain records of any written agreements and written procedures required by Section 1908 that describe cleaning, sanitizing, and inspection procedures for vehicles and transportation equipment for a 12-month period beyond when such agreements and procedures are in use in their transportation operations.

3.  Require carriers to maintain training records for a 12-month period beyond when the person identified in any such records continue to perform duties for which the training was provided.

4.  Require shippers and carriers make all records required by this proposed rule available to a duly authorized individual promptly upon oral or written request.

5.  Require all records by this proposed rule be kept as original records, true copies (photocopies, etc.), or electronic records.

6.  Provide that except for written procedures required by 1908(d)(6) (carriers procedures dealing with cleaning, sanitizing, temperature control, use of bulk vehicles), offsite storage of records is permitted after 6-months following the date the record was made if such records can be retrieved and provided onsite within 24 hours of request for official review.

7.  Provide that all records subject to this proposed rule are subject to the disclosure requirements under part 20 (CFR part 20 Freedom of Information Act).