IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation submitted joint comments on Monday regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed rule on the sanitary transportation of human and animal food. IDFA and NMPF said they supported the agency’s goal of issuing regulations to codify existing industry practices, and identified areas that need clarification and improvement.
The rule, required by the Food Safety Modernization Act, will regulate the transportation of human and animal food products to protect them from food-safety hazards during transport. It is intended to eliminate food safety risks, like improper refrigeration of food, inadequate cleaning of vehicles between loads and failure to properly protect food during transportation.
No Need to Change Current Practices
“IDFA and NMPF agree with FDA that there is no need to change current sanitary food transportation practices through regulatory requirements. Today, food is safely transported and there is no identified need to improve upon current, voluntary industry practices,” the comments said.
The organizations expressed support for the flexible and risk-based parts of the rule, such as the proposed waiver for foods subject to the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). They also support the agency’s practical approach to recordkeeping and the proposed exemption for shelf-stable foods.
Several areas, however, require clarification or improvements.
- The language regarding temperature control should align with current industry practices and not imply that FDA expects continuous temperature monitoring during transportation. Carriers should be required to demonstrate compliance with the shipper’s temperature requirements only when requested by the shipper or receiver, and a deviation from the shipper’s temperature requirement would not necessarily mean the food is adulterated.
- FDA should clarify that frozen dairy desserts are not “foods that can support the growth of undesirable microorganisms in the absence of temperature control during transportation” and are not subject to temperature control-related requirements.
- FDA should explicitly recognize that shippers, carriers and receivers may have contracts that allocate responsibilities either between them or to another entity.
- The requirements should recognize that short-duration transportation, intra-company shipments and transportation of raw agricultural commodities may not need the same level of oversight as other shipments.
- FDA should share its plans for inspections and enforcement, and provide an opportunity for public input.
Read the comments here.
For more information, contact Clay Detlefsen, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs, at email@example.com.