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FDA to Regulate Transportation

Mar 3, 2020

as published in Food Logistics, Jan/Feb 2020

Don Durm, vice president of customer solutions, PLM & IRTA board of directors


 There have been little signs to indicate that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) specifically targeted transport companies for enforcement under the revised Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

But, the FDA is in the process of preparing enforcement in transport, which means now is the time for trade organizations and transportation companies to updated their transportation supple chain networks.  While different food safety laws have been laid out for many years, FSMA is different. 

To start, the FDA will be one more entity regulating transportation.  Under FSDMA's Sanitary Transportation of Food (STF), the agency will be holding carriers to a standard of industry best practices "because it is our intent to pattern this rule on existing industry best practices."  This comes years after not having a unified best practice to ascribe to.


Establishing industry practice

The board of directors of the International Refrigerated Transportation Association (IRTA) under the parent organization Refrigerated-Transportation-Best-Practices-Guide-231x299of the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), Alexandria, Va., recognized this challenge and commissioned a 2-year task force to bring cold chain stakeholder from manufacturing , 3PLs, transport, warehousing and the scientific community to establish comprehensive industry best practice.  The result was the issuance of the globally accepted IRTA's Refrigerated Transportation Best Practices Guide.   Food processors and retailers have commonly ascribed to one of the certification bodies from the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) to ensure food is being produced to the highest standards.  The IRTA board of directors recognized the need to take the next step toward certification and leverage the global acceptance of IRTA's Best Practices Guide.  That's why t developed the Cold Carrier Certified-designation.


Cold Carrier Certified program

The Cold Carrier Certified program  requires company participants to submit proof of conformance to, and adoption of, the Refrigerated Transportation Best Practice s Guide.  Second the carrier management personnel must undergo proof of knowledge on specific requirements from the guide.  The Cold Carrier Certified designation ensures shippers and receivers that the carrier has aligned their business and personnel to the highest industry standards for their commitment to sanitary and safe transportation of perishable products.

In April 2019, the formal programs was introduced with he following companies achieving the Cold Carrier Certified designation - Frozen Food Express (FFE)  Transportation Services, Dallas, Texas; Great Plains Transport, Mapleton, ND; JB Hunt, Lowell AR; Midwest Refrigerated Services, Inc.; Pleasant Prairie, WI; Trailiner, Springfield, MO; WEL, Cos Joliet, IL; Charger Logistics Inc., Ontario, CA; Congebec, Mississauga, ON; Sethmar Transportation Inc., Overland Park, KS; and KeHE Distributors, Naperville, IL.

Just because your company many not have experienced enforcement of the STF yet it doesn't mean you're in the clear.  As the FDA increases their reach for audits, the transportation sector will be impacted by the requirements in the future.  From a regulatory preparedness prospective, obtaining a Cold Carrier Certified designation will help companies and personnel prepare for such an audit.

As a carrier, obtaining the designation will be beneficial in competitive situations to demonstatrate ascribing to the highest industry standards of transporting food in a sanitary and safe manner.

KeHe receives Certified Cold Carrier designation from IRTAAs a shipper of food, the STF Act designates the regulatory accountability to provide safe transport of food, and will look for companies to obtain the Cold Carrier Certified designation. 



KeHE Distributors of Naperville, IL is among the first recipients of the IRTA Cold Carrier Certified designation.