The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today proposed a rule that would require certain shippers, receivers, and carriers who transport food by motor or rail vehicles to take steps to prevent the contamination of human and animal food during transportation. Part of the implementation of the Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 2005, the proposal marks the seventh and final major rule in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) central framework aimed at systematically building preventive measures across the food system.

The proposed regulation would establish criteria for sanitary transportation practices, such as properly refrigerating food, adequately cleaning vehicles between loads, and properly protecting food during transportation.

The proposed rule would apply to shippers, carriers, and receivers who transport food that will be consumed or distributed in the United States and is intended to ensure that persons engaged in the transportation of food that is at the greatest risk for contamination during transportation follow appropriate sanitary transportation practices. The requirements in the proposed rule would not apply to the transportation of fully packaged shelf-stable foods, live food animals, and raw agricultural commodities when transported by farms.

The FDA intends to hold three public meetings on the proposed rule for the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food. To do so, the agency is first planning on extending the public meetings on the proposed rule for the Intentional Adulteration of Food to include coverage of Sanitary Transportation in two locations. These meetings will be held on Feb. 27 at the Hilton Chicago in Chicago and on March 13 at the Sheraton Park Hotel in Anaheim, CA. It is anticipated that the Chicago and Anaheim meetings will remain one-day meetings but run until approximately 5:00 p.m. The agency also intends to hold a standalone public meeting on the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food on March 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in College Park, MD. The agency will soon publish final Sanitary Transportation meeting details and registration information.

The proposed rule will be available for public comment (via starting Feb. 5; use Docket No. FDA-2013-N-0013)  until May 31, 2014.

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