The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) started on January 4, 2011 when President Obama signed it into law. This Act aims to make sure the U.S. food supply is consistently safe by focusing on the prevention of contamination instead of the response to it, requiring manufacturing companies and many other companies involved in food handling to maintain accurate records.
Many industries and operations that handle food products must adhere to this Act, and here are some of the ways the FSMA affects shipping.
Influence of FSMA on Shipping Company Brokerage Divisions
According to Section 1.326 of the FSMA, the brokerage division of a shipping company that handles nationwide shipping needs for multiple shippers must maintain recordkeeping practices under the Act, which helps prevent contamination during transport. Exceptions to the Final Rule only include companies that do not directly transport food products, but rather facilitate transportation, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
In short, anyone defined as a “transporter” responsible for directly shipping food products must establish and maintain records.
What Do Transporters Need to Comply to the FSMA During Shipping?
Section 1.351 discusses the need for shipping vessel owners to maintain records throughout the shipping process in addition to shipping company brokerage divisions, because they are technically in physical possession of the transported items. While the owner of the shipping container in which the product is held may also be responsible for recordkeeping, this does not exclude the owner of the vessel who is actively transporting the container.
The list of transporters also includes FSMA-compliant reefer trucking companies and other types of trucking operations.
What Type of Records Does the FSMA Require Transporters to Maintain?
Specifically, Section 1.352 requires each transporter to establish and maintain records that identify both the immediate previous source and the immediate following recipient of food products, regardless of whether the former or latter is a transporter. Transporters must establish these records each time they transfer food products. This section also permits transporters to make agreements with nontransporters that require immediate previous sources and immediate subsequent recipients to establish and/or maintain records.
How The FSMA Improves the Shipping Process
Through the Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA can see a clear picture of where food products are at all times during shipping along with how companies are shipping them. This can subsequently help determine if a previous source or subsequent recipient could be a source of contamination, and take appropriate steps to prevent it from occurring.
Because of the implementation of the FSMA, clients of shipping companies and brokerages don’t have to worry about potential contamination of their products throughout the shipping process. The FDA will be able to see where their products have been and where they are headed, and you’ll never remain in the dark regarding food product transportation.
As frequent transporters of food products for many clients, Red Dog Logistics is in full compliance with the FSMA in refrigerated trucking and other transportation processes, along with other FDA regulations.