Sweeping reforms to US food safety regulations are on the horizon, including requirements for trucking companies transporting food in the United States.
A panel discussion last week at the Technology and Maintenance Council in Nashville served to remind carriers that in late 2011, the US passed the Food Safety Modernization Act to strengthen its capacity to prevent the spread of foodborne illness.
The approach follows a “farm to fork” continuum, where every partner in the food production and supply chain – from farmers, to processors to retail, and everyone in between, including trucking companies – assume obligations and responsibility for their actions. Most notably, the Act called for the publication of regulations on the safe transportation of food, which will impact US domestic carriers as well as Canadian carriers moving food products into or out of the United States.
Draft regulations on food transportation have not yet been issued, but it seems quite clear from reading the Act and from material issued by the US government that a preventative approach will be adopted based on HACCP principles. Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point methodology, developed for the US space program, is designed to identify critical control points where food could become contaminated, introduce rigorous monitoring of processes and procedures, and outline corrective actions to be implemented when it appears that safety has been compromised. The methodology is widely used throughout the world, and forms the basis of many industry-developed food safety programs developed with the support of the Government of Canada.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance is one organization that has developed a food safety program for its members using Canadian HACCP principles. With financial support from the federal government, the Trucking Food Safety Program (TFSP) was developed several years ago to help carriers meet their clients more demanding food safety requirements. Over the past year CTA, assisted by a carrier advisory committee, introduced several modifications to the program to bring it up to date and, most notably, automate the entire process for carriers. The automated system will be tested by several advisory committee members over the next several months. In addition, the entire program will be submitted to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s rigorous Technical Review process.
Canadian carriers who have introduced a HACCP-based program should be well-placed to comply with the upcoming US regulations. Carriers wanting further information on the Trucking Food Safety Program can contact CTA’s Ron Lennox at firstname.lastname@example.org