Sanitary Food Transportation Act: The Wrong Message
You may debate the virtues of the FDA’s proposed Sanitary Food Transportation Act all day. But as any trucking, warehousing or logistics professional will tell you, it’s simply not needed. There’s no question that warehousing and transportation have always played an important role in
the quality of our country’s food chain and food safety in general. Just ask a grower who needs IQF and storage for a bumper crop and a clean truck to deliver the harvest to hungry markets.
And yes, the temperature-controlled food chain has grown significantly in the past decade and gives every indication of continuing to demand greater and greater accountability over food safety, product environment, supply chain transparency and order accuracy. Today’s supermarket carries an
estimated 44,000 SKUs, many of which are restocked at virtually on-demand order cycles. These challenges, however, are the result of the growing sophistication in customer purchasing. It is the free market at work, rewarding those companies who are willing to invest in the technology,
training and systems necessary to meet those needs. It is an industry demonstrating continuous improvement.
Do these market dynamics require regulation to better function? Hardly. During a recent food safety summit, a presentation by the Food Marketing Institute called out several reasons why there is no justification for a formal transportation act:
- The FDA cited only six events over the course of 36 years to justify the need for the regulations
- None of these incidents involved the transportation of food by the supermarket industry.
- The previous Interstate Food Transportation Assessment Project noted “little or no areas of concern” with large semi-trucks—the mode of transportation used by the supermarket industry.
Regulation is not only unnecessary; it sends the wrong message—inferring that our industry is not performing up to standards—and that is simply not true.