How IFA can be affected by the Food Safety Modernization Act
The International Forwarding Association has been steadily working on implementing various visibility tools in order to comply with international food safety regulations.
Since there have been worrying signals for food getting recalled by the manufacturers and retailers, and for cases when certain foodstuffs have been found to cause sickness and other health problems, the companies from the European network for transportation have been working on limiting the risk of foodstuffs which are being transported getting spoiled or otherwise damaged or contaminated during their transportation, storage and distribution provided by the international freight forwarders.
The adoption of FSMA
In the US, due to the alarming rise in the outbursts of foodborne illnesses, the Congress voted on a Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which has become a compulsory requirement for all US national and international freight forwarding companies since June 2017.
The FSMA includes requirements for an adoption of best practices, increased accountability as well as improved monitoring of all processes in the supply chain including the international freight forwarding, storage and distribution, and contract logistics services provided.
This means that the list of logistics companies needs to find ways to ensure that the shippers and carriers are compliant with the new laws and regulations. Steps have been taken for the improved monitoring of the supply chain as well as improved relations with other carriers in the freight forwarders network to ensure that the food being transported with refrigeration transport or regular one does not get damaged.
With this new set of regulations, the Congress took a giant step towards prevention of foodborne diseases rather than focusing on managing foodborne illness outbursts.
The FSMA was signed by President Obama in 2011, but it didn’t come into effect until June 2017. The law was adopted pretty quickly thanks to the support of the American Grocery Manufacturers Association who had suffered billions of dollars in losses due to recalls of food, lost sales, legal expenses and insurance fees.
The FSMA supplements the already existing Sanitary Food Transport Act (SFTA) implemented back in 2005.
Rules for compliance with the FSMA and the challenges which the carriers are facing
There are five main rules which freight forwarders who deal with specialized transportation of food, and with its storage and distribution need to follow in order to comply with FSMA. These are: Temperature control, Temperature certification, Cleanliness, Training, and Data Retention.
With the adoption of FSMA, the companies dealing with national and international freight forwarding are facing various challenges to update their operations, and mostly to cooperate closely with the providers of the food transportation services and providers of refrigeration transport, so that it is clear who carries the blame in case foodborne illness occurs.
Also, many of the freight forwarders lack the appropriate systems for tracking and recording the temperature conditions in the trucks and trailers used for the transport of foodstuffs.
Now, all precautions need to be taken to ensure that the goods are stored, loaded, transported and unloaded correctly, or the companies offering specialized transportation could be faced with devastating penalties imposed by the FDA, including fines, recalls of foods, and even suspension of their registration.
With the adoption of a freight visibility solution, the shipment’s location can be tracked in real time, and the temperature levels in the vehicles and trailers can be closely controlled during transport. This no doubt will benefit both the logistics companies and the transport companies who will be able to keep their brand reputation and continue running successful businesses.