Food Transportation: Missing Ingredients to FSMA Compliance

Sanitary transportation compliance is currently mandatory for many and will be required for all shippers, loaders, carriers, and receivers in April 2018.

While the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011 set the guidelines and rulemaking for the Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food (STHAF) in process, there are still gaps in compliance.

We now see devices with power management tools, better lifetime batteries and smaller, faster, ever-more-powerful chip processing. Solutions abound, the operational efficiencies to be garnered are real, and technology is ever more affordable.

But as impressive as they are, these technologies do not, and will not, replace the accountability of a culture of food safety in your business. Food safety is not a technology. Nor is it a checklist for that matter.

The culture of sanitary transport hinges on human behavior. As a society, we know what makes for unsafe practices that lead to foodborne illness. The root causes for food poisoning are the same today as they were 200 years ago. When people keep environments clean, wash their hands, monitor refrigeration equipment, and consistently check product condition, the opportunity for pathogens to grow, spread, and thrive can be halted.

Where are the gaps?

Just like electronic driver logs, paper is no longer acceptable as proof of record when it comes to public safety and regulatory compliance.

Twelve months of recorded data that proves we have maintained the equipment, trained the employees, and managed a plan that prevents the introduction or proliferation of foodborne illness is what the law states. So, what does this look like today? For the most part, this looks like paper checklists, pens, clipboards, and cabinets full of documents decentralized, unmanaged, and difficult to access.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are commercial off-the-shelf solutions that can be implemented with relatively little pain or operational disruption. Think of handheld devices that run checklist applications and synch up real-time with cloud technologies. Simplistic, but efficient solutions for managing all of your facilities, your assets, and most importantly, your employee’s behavior. Relevant participants are provided the precise tool, when they need it, 100 percent of the time.

The technology toolbox does not require science fiction imagination. When it comes to providing working solutions to your organization, mobile technology can be much like a Swiss army knife: compact, diverse, and incredibly efficient.

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