Source: The

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is delaying an estimated $150 million food safety rule intended to prevent contamination during transit.

The rule would establish new sanitary requirements for truck drivers, shippers and trains that transport human and animal food around the country. They would be required to refrigerate the food and clean their vehicles between loads, among other things, the FDA said Thursday [May 23].

It is part of a larger effort by the Obama administration to overhaul the nation's food safety laws.

"The goal of the proposed rule is to ensure that transportation practices do not create food safety risks," the FDA wrote in the Federal Register.

"Isolated incidents of insanitary transportation practices for human and animal food and outbreaks and illnesses caused by contamination of these foods during transport there have resulted in concerns over the past decades about the potential that food can become contaminated during transportation," it added.

The FDA announced the rule in February, but said Thursday it is extending the comment period through July 30 to give the industry more time to consider the proposed rule.

The FDA estimates the rule would cost the industry $149 million in the first year, before declining to $30 million each year thereafter.

The rule would affect more than 83,000 transportation companies, which would pay nearly $1,800 in the first year and $360 per year thereafter in compliance costs, the agency estimates.

Companies with less than $500,000 in annual sales would not be affected by the rule.

The FDA said the rule would help reduce the risk of adverse health effects on the public, as well as the number of recalls along with the losses they accrue to the industry.

The agency was unable to estimate how much money the rule would save.

Editor's Note: More information on the proposed rule, "Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food," is available here. Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted via this link.