The Department of Transportation's (DOT) authority for food transportation safety has been transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), according to information in the Federal Register December 23.
As a result, DOT's responsibilities in this area are limited to developing and implementing a training program for its inspectors that perform commercial motor vehicle or railroad safety inspections, and notifying HHS or the Department of Agriculture (USDA), as applicable, of any instances of potential food contamination or adulteration identified during safety inspections.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is withdrawing the notice of proposed rulemaking published May 21, 1993, and the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking published December 21, 2004. In those notices, the agency proposed to implement the Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 1990 by amending its regulations to address the safe transportation of food and food products in commerce. That would have required DOT to promulgate regulations to promote the safe transportation of food products.
The change comes as a result of the Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 2005 that called for the authority to be transferred to HHS. DOT is no longer required to issue regulations applicable to the safe transportation of food.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will provide guidance to, and coordinate with, DOT on sharing of significant information resulting from DOT safety inspections.
FSIS and FDA will work with DOT to develop standard training for transportation inspectors to enable them to recognize suspected incidents of contamination or adulteration or other potential food safety or security concerns encountered during their inspections and to report these incidents to FSIS or FDA.
For more information, click here for the Federal Register.