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FDA released the FSMA Final Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food on April 6, 2016.

The final rule, which is part of the agency’s implementation of the 2005 Sanitary Food Transportation Act, contains some significant revisions of the proposed version, including affirming that the use of current sanitary food sanitation best practices will allow industry to meet the rule’s requirements.

The final rule focuses more narrowly on food safety and not on adulteration as a result of spoilage or quality defects. The agency also simplified the definitions for parties covered by the rule to make them activity based.

The final rule places primary responsibility on the shipper for determinations about appropriate transportation operations – for example, whether food needs temperature control for safety and the relevant operating temperature and mode of temperature monitoring, whether particular cleanout procedures are needed, and whether the previous cargo must be identified.

“We believe the shipper is in the best position of the parties covered by this rule to know the appropriate specifications for transport of its food,” the agency says.

Businesses other than small businesses have one year from the date of publication of the final rule to comply with the rule. Small businesses get two years to comply.

FDA hosted an April 25 webinar in which Consumer Safety Officer Mike Kashtock of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition reviewed the key requirements of the new rule. The agency plans to post the recorded webinar on its FSMA website.

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