This rule establishes regulations for the safe handling and transport of human and animal food. Foods that fall under this rule include bulk foods, foods not enclosed by a container (e.g. fresh produce) and foods that require temperature control for safety. The rule only covers shipment by motor vehicle or rail. Shipments that are exclusively by water and/air are not covered. Persons covered under this rule include:

  1. Shippers, loaders, carriers and receivers who transport food for both intrastate and interstate commerce in the US by motor vehicle or rail
  2. Shippers who transport food into the US from Canada and Mexico by motor vehicle or rail
  3. Shippers who transport food into the US by ship or air and then transfer to motor vehicle or rail for distribution within the US

Key elements of this rule include requirements for:

  1. Vehicles and Transportation Equipment
  2. Transportation Operations
  3. Training
  4. Records

Vehicles and Transportation Equipment

Vehicles and transportation equipment must meet the following criteria:

  1. Designed, and built in a manner that make them cleanable to prevent food from being contaminated during transportation
  2. Vehicles and equipment must be kept in a sanitary manner to prevent food contamination during transportation
  3. Vehicles must maintain appropriate temperature where temperature control is required, including being equipped with the appropriate temperature measuring device
  4. Vehicles must be stored in a manner to prevent pest infestation

Transportation Operations

The proposed regulations outlines general requirements, and requirements for shippers, shippers and receivers, and carriers.

General Requirements

  1. All regulated parties must prevent food from being contaminated by raw food and non-food items in the same load
  2. Adequate protection must also be given to protect food transported in bulk from cross-contamination
  3. For foods that can support rapid growth of microorganisms, regulated parties must ensure that they are transported in a manner to prevent growth of microorganisms including temperature control as needed

Requirements for Shippers

  1. Must provide carriers with a written description of the vehicle and transport equipment requirements that will ensure that the food remains wholesome
  2. Must visually inspect a carrier’s vehicle and transportation equipment to verify that it is clean enough to transport food
  3. Specify to the carrier, the necessary temperature control requirements including pre-cooling
  4. Must verify that cold storage compartments have been pre-cooled to the appropriate temperature before loading
  5. Provide receiver with the necessary documentation to prove that the food was maintained at the correct temperature during transportation, unless the carrier is contracted to do so instead

Requirements for Carriers

  1. Must provide vehicles and transportation equipment that meet all sanitary requirements specified by shipper
  2. Must provide shipper with information on the three previous cargoes carried in the vehicle
  3. Must provide shipper with information on the most recent cleaning
  4. Must provide verification to shipper upon request, that appropriate temperature conditions were met, including pre-cooling each cold storage compartment to the required temperature

Requirements for Shippers and Receivers

  1. Must provide convenient hand washing facilities for employees to handle food that is not completely enclosed in a container
  2. Ensure that the appropriate temperature controls are met for loading and unloading of food


If the carrier by signed contract agrees to be responsible for the sanitary condition during shipment, then the carrier must be provided with adequate documentation on sanitary transportation practices and made aware of potential food safety concerns during transportation. The carrier must provide appropriate food safety training to employees involved in transportation operations and keep a record of training activities.


  1. Information on sanitary requirements of vehicle
  2. Written standard operating procedures for cleaning and inspection of vehicles
  3. Standard operating procedures for monitoring and maintenance of temperature control

Exemptions and Waivers

  1. Shippers, carriers and receivers with transportation operations below $500,000 in average annual revenue
  2. Transportation activities performed by farms
  3. Foods imported for export
  4. Transportation of compressed food gases and food contact surfaces
  5. Transportation of human food byproducts for use as animal foods without further processing e.g. vegetable pulp and byproducts of grain milling
  6. Shelf-stable foods completely enclosed in a container
  7. Live food animals, except molluscan shellfish
  8. The FDA may grant a waiver in response to petitions from the following entities:
    1. Shippers, carriers and receivers holding valid permits under the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NIMS) Grade A Milk Program. Controls already exists under the NIMS Program.
    2. Operations such as retail stores and restaurants with valid permits to deliver food to customers. Controls already exists under the Retail Food Program.
Courtney Simons
Courtney Simons is a food science professor. He holds a BS degree in food science and a Ph.D. in cereal science from North Dakota State University.
Courtney Simons on FacebookCourtney Simons on Linkedin