New Food Safety Rules: Who Will Feel the Pain?

New rules regarding the safe transportation of food will go into effect April 6 for large carriers, brokers and shippers.

What makes these rules different is that brokers are defined as shippers and they become equally responsible for ensuring the safety of food during transportation. On a positive note, most brokers, shippers and carriers don’t fall into the large business category, and will have extra time to comply.

The new rules, set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are intended to keep food safe from contamination during transportation.

Fruit and vegetables

Who Must Comply by April 6, 2017?

The FDA mandates that large businesses comply by April 6, 2017. Other businesses have until April 6, 2018. Large businesses are defined as:

  • Carriers with $27.5 million or more in annual receipts.
  • Brokers with 500 or more employees.
  • Shippers with 500 or more employees.

There are some exceptions. See the Fact Sheet issued by the FDA.

What are the new rules?

According to the FDA, the new rules establish requirements in four key categories:

  1. Vehicles and equipment – The design and maintenance of vehicles and transportation equipment must ensure that it does not cause the food that it transports to become unsafe.
  2. Operations – Measures must be taken during transportation to ensure food safety, such as adequate temperature controls, preventing contamination of ready-to-eat food from touching raw food, protection of food from contamination by non-food items in the same load or previous load, and protection of food from cross-contact, such as the unintentional incorporation of a food allergen.
  3. Training – Requires training of carrier personnel in sanitary transportation practices and documentation of the training. This training is required when the carrier and shipper agree that the carrier is responsible for sanitary conditions during transport.
  4. Records – Maintenance of records of written procedures, agreements, and training (required of carriers) for up to one year.

Brokers Considered Shippers

Freight brokers should make sure they are aware of the new food safety rules because the rules define brokers as shippers. That means they are also responsible for ensuring food safety during transport.


What do freight brokers think of the new food safety rules? Last year we talked to four brokers shortly after the final version of the rules was passed. See our blog post New Food Safety Rules Turn Brokers Into Shippers.

The Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) has a number of resources available to freight brokers, including:

  • A web page dedicated to Sanitary Food Transport, which includes a Q & A about the new rules.
  • A sample Broker-Carrier Agreement, which was updated in February 2017 to include the new FDA rules. (Download from the Member’s Only section)
  • A Temperature Controlled Transportation course that trains brokers on the intricacies of brokering loads containing food.

Some of the items above are available only to TIA members. To learn more about the benefits of becoming a TIA member, see our blog post: Who’s Looking Out For Freight Brokers?