FDA’s Final Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food

Posted December 23, 2016 by Erin

FDA Issues Final Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food

What You Need to Know

The Rule

On April 6, 2016, the FDA published its Final Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food establishing transportation requirements to ensure the safety of both human and animal food. This rule results from long-time concerns over the need for regulations so that foods are being transported in a safe manner. It reaffirms that transportation plays a critical role in preventing risks to the nation’s food supply.

The final rule is part of the implementation of the 2005 Sanitary Food Transportation Act (SFTA) and the 2011 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). These two statutes require the FDA to issue regulations requiring shippers, carriers by motor vehicles or rail vehicle, receivers, and other persons engaged in the transportation of food to use sanitary transportation practices to ensure that food is not transported under conditions that may render the food adulterated. The rule is one of seven fundamental rules proposed since January 2013 and is the sixth of seven regulations that have been finalized. This is also the only rule of the seven that is directly applicable to transportation.

The rule applies to shippers, loaders and carriers who transport food in the U.S. by motor vehicle or rail (whether or not food is offered or enters interstate commerce), and applies to food not completely enclosed by a container. Four key requirements are addressed: (1) vehicles and transportation equipment, (2) transportation operations, (3) records and (4) training. The new rule applies to the design and maintenance of vehicles and transportation equipment to ensure they do not cause the food being transported to become unsafe. It also requires specific measures be taken during the transport of food to ensure food safety, such as adequate temperatures. The rule requires carriers to train their personnel in sanitary transportation practices and to document the training conducted. Regulated parties must also maintain records of written procedures, agreements and training records (required for carriers).

So how will the rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food affect the transportation industry? First and foremost, the rule is flexible. It allows the industry to continue to use industry “best practices” which is defined as “commercial or professional procedures that are accepted or prescribed as being correct or most effective.” These practices include successful sanitation procedures, effective training programs, records retention procedures, successful inspection and monitoring programs.

The final rule indicates that businesses (other than small businesses) will have one year from date of publication to comply, so until April 7, 2017. Small businesses have 2 years to comply. “Small businesses” are defined as businesses other than motor carriers that are also not shippers and/or receivers and that employ fewer than 500 persons, and motor carriers having less than $27.5 million in annual receipts.

Before the rule becomes enforced in April 2017, those involved in the food transportation industry should review their vehicle and transportation equipment to determine how the new requirements may affect them. To comply with this new rule, all companies need to develop and implement a written procedure governing all aspects of their shipping operations. The procedure should spell out in detail the sanitation procedures for both loading and unloading and shipping equipment. If the current “best practices” are not suitable, then changes to the procedure must take place. 

Failure to comply with the rule is subject to injunction and criminal prosecution. Further, food will be deemed “adulterated” if it is transported or offered for transport by a shipper, loader, carrier or receiver under conditions that don’t comply with the rule. FDA also intends to conduct some inspections and the Department of Transportation (DOT) will establish procedures for transportation safety inspections to be conducted by DOT or state agencies.

These new requirements may be used by plaintiffs to establish negligence and negligence per se, and may appear in litigation through discovery or FOIA requests. On the other hand, proper compliance with the rule will allow companies to prove safe and proper practices.

For more information on the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/04/06/2016-07330/sanitary-transportation-of-human-and-animal-food

Article originally published by Roberts Perryman.

Anna Beck is an associate attorney at Roberts Perryman. Anna’s practice focuses on transportation, insurance coverage and defense.

Roberts Perryman has been a leader in transportation defense for over 50 years with offices in St. Louis and Springfield, MO and Belleville, IL. www.robertsperryman.com

Follow their blog at: Driven to Keep You Driving


How a Modest Farm Truck Driver Changed the Future of Global Shipping Forever

Posted December 20, 2016 by Administrator

It was during the Great Depression and Malcolm McLean, the son of a North Carolina farmer, started a trucking company to help his family survive those harrowing times. It was on one of those long hauls that he had a new idea that would someday revolutionize the shipping industry. It was the dawn the day before Thanksgiving and McLean was exhausted from driving all night. As he wearily drove up to the loading docks to deliver his produce, he realized there were at least 20 trucks already waiting ahead of him. Frustrated, tired and worried he wouldn’t make it home in time for Thanksgiving dinner the next day, he wondered if there wasn’t an easier way to unload freight.

In those days freight was unloaded piece by piece by the longshoremen. Each shipping item was first unloaded and then restocked on the ship. It would easily take a week to load a ship. McLean wondered if there was a way for his entire truck bed to be unloaded and reloaded at once.

His idea was not well received. Everyone thought the best way to improve shipping efficiency was to increase the load size by packing the freight better and by improving the speed time of the boat. No one thought his idea would make enough of a difference to be considered.

It took McLean many years to have the opportunity to try out his innovative idea. He grew his company to a large trucking fleet of over 1700 trucks by the early 1950’s. He then decided to sell his company, which sold for $12 million. He had to sell his trucking company before he could buy a shipping line, as per U.S. regulations at the time. Once he sold his trucking company, he then raised the capital to buy the shipping company and what he needed to develop his innovation.

Once he owned the shipping company he went about designing the truck bed containers, including a necessary but newly invented locking system. He then purchased two WWII tankers that he remodeled to fit the truck containers. He even designed a new crane that could easily unload the truck and stack the shipping freighters.

His inventions were well worth the wait. His new trucking container loading system reduced the cost of loading 39 times from $5.86 per ton to only $.16 per ton. Even more impressive, what had once taken a week to load now only took 8 hours. McLean had forever changed the way goods were shipped, loaded and unloaded all because of a delay at the dock way back when he was driving a truck just to keep food on the table and help his farmer neighbors.

The big takeaway here is the importance of looking at problems with a fresh eye and different perspective than may be the current norm. Sometimes it takes someone who is an outsider to see what may appear to be obvious but is overlooked by an insider in the industry.

Cline Wood is a national commercial property and casualty insurance agency that focuses on the commercial agribusiness and trucking industries. To learn more about Cline Wood and how we can help your business, contact us here.

How the Digital Revolution Impacts Agribusiness

Posted December 13, 2016 by Administrator

tablet farmerTechnological advances are helping farmers increase resiliency, scale and sustainability. Technology is one of the most effective tools in our society for reducing poverty because more than a third of the global population relies on agriculture for a living. New digital applications are now making it easier for farmers to improve their productivity and are helping them scale their businesses at a much faster rate than in the past as it pertains to these three key constraints: 1) resilience, 2) scale, and 3) market incentives.

Traditionally, small farms without a safety net would suffer debilitating setbacks from bad weather, crop disease and low prices. Today, farmers can access mobile apps that help take the guess work out of planting, growing and harvesting crops by providing real-time weather information and agronomic tips. Emergent market insurance players are using mobile technology to bring life and crop insurance that protect small farmers from economic shocks.

Innovative products generate mobile payments and receipts whenever farmers sell to agribusiness using their platform. This provides them with a dashboard that gives them touch point financial history right from their phone. Better tracking and reports make them more attractive to a bank when they apply for credit, insurance and other financial tools that can help them withstand potential setbacks and prevents them from being taken advantage of by buyers. Market prices are easily accessible by phone which helps them make better decisions and maximize their profits by selling at precisely the right time.

In order to be successful, farmers need sizeable, stable markets. Mobile platforms are making it easier for farmers to manage their contracts, make and accept payments, and give them clarity about their business strategy by helping them identify patterns, efficiencies and best practices. Mobile supply chain management now makes working together vastly easier for buyers and small operators.

Digital technology makes this exciting times for agribusiness. Mobile innovations are changing the way dairies tend their cows, access micro-insurance to prevent bad weather risk, or determine the most scientifically optimal time to plant crops.

The demand for food in the global economy is expected to soar 70 percent by 2050. Digital technology may very well be the answer that will help to solve some of the most difficult agricultural challenges of our time. To learn more about protecting and growing your agribusiness, contact us today.

Is a Recession on the Horizon for the Trucking Industry?

Posted December 6, 2016 by Administrator

trucksThe trucking industry in America may be facing a downturn, causing some analysts to predict that economic indicators are signaling a recession. Some of the negative trends that analysts point to as worrisome include:

  • low diesel prices
  • energy sector issues
  • high business inventories
  • weakness in the manufacturing sector
  • decrease in exports due to a strong dollar
  • driver shortages that make it difficult to cover deliveries and routes
  • government regulations that make it difficult to recruit and retain drivers

The trucking industry is a major player when it comes to economic expansion. When fewer goods are delivered due to a reduced need, it could signal a slowing of economic growth in the U.S. The trucking industry accounts for 70 percent of the tonnage carried by domestic freight. Trucks move 9.2 million tons of freight annually. Over 37 billion gallons of diesel fuel were required to provide that much transportation.

Even if manufacturing improves and consumer demand stabilizes, there is a high degree of economic uncertainty predicted for 2017. High inventory stocks continue to hold down trucking freight volumes, which have been falling since the second half of 2015. Hopefully, the supply chain will clean out the excess stocks which will benefit the trucking industry.

Food Safety as an Emerging Risk for AgriBusiness in America

Posted November 29, 2016 by Administrator

qtq80-6zlLqVModern food production systems are vulnerable, as evidenced by food safety crises in America. Food borne illnesses strike 48 million Americans every year, many of whom are hospitalized or killed from deadly viruses and bacteria (i.e. salmonella, E. coli, and many more), parasites, allergens, mold, toxins and contaminants. These incidences have caused the public to express concern about the safety of the food they consume and the food supply chain.

Food safety risks can be reduced if food safety hazards are identified early and important information is exchanged properly between all parties involved in maintaining food safety. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) works with a variety of public and private partners to ensure a healthy system of food safety oversight that uses the research-based knowledge to prevent food-related issues that make people sick.

In order to achieve the FDA’s goals for improving the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, the food system must be viewed as a whole. Everyone who participates in the food chain and supply system must be held accountable for preventing hazards and following the rules established. For example, the FDA has specific prevention-oriented standards for seafood, juice and eggs as does the U.S. Department of Agriculture for meat and poultry. All parties involved in the food supply chain need to follow best practices established by food safety pioneers and to recognize that any breakdown in the farm-to-table process can cause great harm to the health of consumers and extensive disruption and economic loss to the food industry as a whole.

Food processors need to evaluate their operations and make plans for reducing – or eliminating – hazards. Monitoring standards that prevent contamination are essential as are implementation of corrective measures when necessary. As food safety rules and standards are improved, the FDA needs to have more effective enforcement tools for ensuring prevention measures are adequately and effectively implemented, which may include mandatory recalls when needed to quickly remove contaminated food from the market.

Science-based research standards need to be taken into account when developing standards for the safe production of fruits and vegetables that will minimize or eliminate the risk of serious illness or death. Safety standards need to be set and followed for the transportation of all types of food.

Food safety is an emerging risk for America, one that can be improved with collaboration between all existing food safety agencies in the country, a focus on prevention, research-based policies, determination of best practices, rules and standards, and accountability for all aspects of the food production and supply chains. If these principles are adhered to, the future of food safety in American will achieve a dramatic and positive change.

Thanksgiving Weekend – Holiday Theft Awareness

Posted November 21, 2016 by Erin


Motor carriers should be mindful of the increased risk of theft as Thanksgiving approaches. Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, and warehouses and trailers are filling up with valuable inventory. Naturally, these make for target-rich environments to would-be thieves. In fact, around Thanksgiving 2015 there were 18 reported cargo theft incidents totaling approximately $1.48 million in reported losses.

Source: Freightwatch International

Please click on the link below for some great loss prevention tips from Great West Casualty Company that can help motor carriers and drivers prevent cargo thefts this year.


10 Ways Fleets Can Improve Fuel Economy

Posted November 21, 2016 by Administrator

shutterstock_20471446 - Copy (2)Every year, U.S. vehicles consume more than 6 billion gallons of diesel fuel and gasoline combined. Fuel costs are the largest part of a fleet’s operating budget, so it makes sense to focus on fuel reduction strategies. Many corporate sustainability initiatives contain a fuel efficiency program. Volatile fuel prices have leveled out in the last few years, making it somewhat easier to plan and manage fuel costs.

Individual drivers are usually responsible for finding fueling stations on their own. This makes it difficult for managers to forecast the fuel budget, both on the road and off the route. It is well worth it to develop an effective fuel management strategy to ensure costs are kept in check.

Here are some ways fleet managers can set up an effective fuel management strategy.

  1. Require drivers to drive conservatively. Fuel economy can be improved by 33% percent when drivers stay within speed limits and driving conservatively, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.) Holding drivers accountable for driving safely and avoiding harsh stop-and-go driving can translate into lowered fuel costs.
  1. Stop unneeded idling. Unnecessary idling, even just one hour per day, can waste as much as $189 per vehicle, according to the EPA. The bigger the vehicle’s engine, the more fuel it consumes when idling. Fleet managers and vehicle owners can download a Vehicle Idle Reduction Savings Worksheet from the Argonne National Laboratory Energy Systems research website to help them calculate potential savings from reducing idle times here.
  1. Keep tires inflated to the optimal tire pressure. Fuel economy can be improved by keeping tires inflated to the correct pressure. Underinflated tires can lower gas mileage for as much as 0.4 percent for every pound per square inch (psi) reduction in pressure.
  1. Plan Efficient Delivery Routes. Adjusting routes can optimize fuel economy. Consider route planning software to help plan routes and reduce fuel consumption.
  1. Use the Proper Diesel Truck Engine Oil. Using the right engine oil can improve gas mileage by 1-2 percent. For a complete discussion about the best engine oil to use for your rigs in 2017, click here.
  1. Make sure your wheels are in alignment. It is imperative that you keep your wheels aligned. If any are out of alignment, it increases the drag on your vehicle, which reduces fuel economy.
  1. Instruct drivers to use cruise control. Make sure your drivers use cruise control if their rig is equipped with it. Cruise control helps drivers maintain a constant speed, which saves fuel.
  1. Remove unneeded payload. Reduce the weight on your vehicle by clearing away unnecessary equipment, tools, parts or products that are not needed that day, therefore improving fuel mileage.
  1. Consider installing a telemetric system. Telemetric systems will provide managers with the data needed to address poor driving habits, such as harsh braking, excessive idle time or unnecessary acceleration. It can also report oil pressure and other diagnostic information, which gives managers information that can really make a difference in fuel economy.
  1. Instruct drivers to use lowest-cost fuel stations. Many fuel card companies offer fuel pricing information every day. Buying fuel from the lowest priced stations can really add up for fleets.

To learn more about transportation practices and coverages to help your business succeed, contact us.

Sustainable Development Goals Critical to Agribusiness

Posted November 10, 2016 by Administrator

shutterstock_3008334The future of sustainable development goals has significant implications for the future of agribusiness and the human condition. There are new opportunities for farmers that view emerging and frontier markets as their source of long-term growth. Consumers in these markets could significantly increase by the year 2025. Taking action on sustainable development goals could help address slower growth obstacles that are giving rise to “trapped value” in the emerging markets.

Public declarations of support for sustainable agribusiness goals are likely to give rise to competitive pressure. Some farmers could get a jumpstart in their profit centers by organizing partnerships and even positioning themselves as leaders in sustainable development that could work in their favor. Being slow to take action could lead to the risk of being left out of these relationships and a source of competitive disadvantage.

A strong sustainable development goal on food security and agriculture is seen as a key to poverty eradication and sustainable development. Agricultural job creation is also a means for poverty eradication. Challenges include key relationships, interdependencies and possible tensions between consumption and production, i.e. where, what and how farmers produce is conditioned by consumers’ food preferences. There is also a challenge for agribusiness in terms of responsibility to communities and to the protection of the natural resources on which they depend. It may even make sense to establish a legally-binding framework for corporate social and environmental responsibility.

There is a need for enhanced support to small-holder agriculture and livestock herding, as well as small-scale fisheries, including farmer-centric, knowledge-based support programs. The need for increased investment in agriculture must be emphasized, including both public and private investment in agricultural research and development, and the rebuilding of state-central roles in agricultural production. There is also a need for the provision of basic services for rural areas.

Other barriers are external, such as weak infrastructure in emerging markets, lack of capacity among target customers and supply chains, and regulatory and policy complexities. Internal challenges include difficulty monitoring, measuring and communicating impact, alternative investment opportunities that take priority, long-time horizons for profitable payback and lack of clear funding mechanisms.

Awareness of the challenges is the first step to managing them. Sustainable development goals offer a powerful mechanism to create coordination for solving complex problems. To learn more about protecting and growing your agribusiness organization, contact us.

Webinar: Procedures for Handling Driver Accidents

Posted November 2, 2016 by Administrator

Truck InsuranceDespite even the best efforts, all organizations are susceptible to accidents. It’s critical to have proper procedures in place to avoid delays and miscommunication. Join Cline Wood University and expert guest speaker Scott Dunwiddie to learn how to ensure fast, fair and legally compliant resolution to accidents. Topics include:

* Initial Contacts
* Claim Reporting
* Important Information and Documents
* Post-Incident Review

Date & Time: Tuesday Nov 15, 2016 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM CST

Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7754055442468772356

ELD mandate upheld in court, compliance date remains December 2017

Posted October 31, 2016 by Erin

A federal mandate requiring nearly all U.S. truck operators to use electronic logging devices to track duty status has been upheld in court, meaning the December 18, 2017, compliance date remains effective.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal court overseeing the case, voted to keep the mandate in place, securing a victory for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and its ELD rule. Its decision was issued Oct. 31, following oral arguments made in Chicago on Sept. 13.

The decision does not change the rule’s exemption for pre-2000 year-model trucks, which are allowed to operate without an ELD.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed a lawsuit on behalf of two truckers in March in an attempt to have the mandate overturned. But OOIDA was unable to convince the court of its arguments that the rule violates truckers’ Fourth Amendment rights to privacy. OOIDA also claimed the rule didn’t meet standards set by Congress for an ELD mandate — an argument the court also rejected.

The rule “is not arbitrary or capricious, nor does it violate the Fourth Amendment,” the 7th circuit judges wrote in their decision.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is the same court that tossed out FMCSA’s 2010-published ELD mandate on the grounds that the rule didn’t do enough to protect truckers from harassment by carriers via the devices.

The court in its Oct. 31 decision said the agency fixed those issues in its 2015-issued rule.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is the highest court in the country next to the Supreme Court. OOIDA still has the option to appeal a ruling.

The Supreme Court, however, has signaled it may not take up the case, at least from preliminary filings made this year.

The ELD mandate rule, published December 2015, requires all truckers currently required to paper logs to transition to an ELD by December 18, 2017.

This article was originally published on ccjdigital.com by James Jaillet. To see the full article click here.

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