“We utilize temperature monitoring and condition monitoring to ensure that products have been properly stored and handled throughout transportation from the field all the way to the retailer,” says Kevin Payne, senior director of marketing of Intelleflex. “Every step of the cold chain is going to have to address sanitation requirements and improve documentation.”
Condition monitoring helps to better prioritize each shipment of product throughout the cold chain. Accurate monitoring helps to generate more revenue from reducing shrink that is caused by spoilage. Access to detailed documentation of each pallet is also a huge advantage for the transportation industry. Aside from collecting temperature data throughout transit, the monitoring tag also records information on such as when the food products were harvested; where it was packed; when it was handed over to a trucker and when it was delivered to a distribution center.
RFID tags also prevent and minimize opportunities for food safety issues to occur by assessing the temperature history and validating whether or not there were any abnormal temperate spikes during transit.
“Prevention is the cornerstone of the new law,” says Sue Challis, editor and writer of the center for food safety and applied nutrition, FDA. “Congress has recognized that prevention is a shared responsibility of all participants in the food system. With the new law, FDA has a clear mandate to make the use of modern preventative controls the norm across the entire food supply.”
The latest trucking regulations
Meanwhile, in the trucking industry there are also some new regulations around the corner. According to Karen Caesar, information officer of Sacramento, California-based California Air Resource Board (CARB), there will be an additional regulation to their Diesel Risk Reduction Plan.
The public process for this additional regulation will begin sometime in 2013. This new regulation “is geared toward modernizing agricultural equipment and reducing harmful diesel emissions from agricultural equipment engines,” explains Caesar.
In addition, CARB’s Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas Regulation, which was adopted in 2008, now states that starting January 1, 2013, all 2010 and older tractor fleets must use SmartWay verified low rolling resistance tires. The use of low rolling resistance tires helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce diesel fuel consumption. This applies to both dry and refrigerated trailers that are 53-foot or longer. It is important to note that drayage fleets that operate within a 100 mile radius of a port or intermodal rail yard are exempt from this new regulation.
Normally, vehicles that operate in California must comply with California’s regulations, including those from Canada and Mexico. However, businesses with noncompliant vehicles can request a Three Day Pass that allows them to operate within the state.
“The Three Day Pass allows one vehicle per company, per year, to operate for three consecutive days in the state of California without complying with the Truck and Bus regulation as long as they requested the pass three days prior to the date they wish to operate,” says Caesar.
Other rules in the trucking industry include changes to the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. In particular, there are two significant updates to the HOS, which is scheduled to go into effect on July 1. One provision places limitations on minimum 34-hour restarts, which must “require that anyone using the 34-hour restart provision have as part of the restart, two periods that include 1:00am to 5:00am” according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
In addition to the 34-hour restart provision, a driver may drive only if eight hours or less have passed since the end of the driver’s last 30 minute rest break. Some trucking organizations have expressed concern with the latest updates to the HOS rule. Members of the Arlington, Virginia-based American Trucking Associations (ATA) believe the updated rule will actually do more harm than good by placing additional drivers and trucks on the road to accommodate the new requirements.
“We’re one of the organizations challenging the regulations,” says Dave Osiecki, SVP of policy and regulatory affairs for the ATA. “There is little or no new research that supports these rules and that’s the main reason we’re challenging them.”