The Uniform Food Safety Transportation Protocol (UFSTP) is available to motor carriers that will need to comply with mandates from shippers and their broker agents under the new US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule governing sanitary transportation of human and animal food.
The rule published earlier in 2016 requires compliance by major shippers and receivers—those with 500 or more employees—and their agents beginning in April 2017 with the entire perishable food supply chain compliant by April 2018.
Drafted in consultation with refrigerated and agricultural carriers, brokers, shippers and refrigerated warehousing firms, the UFSTP represents an effort to establish uniform standards for delegating responsibilities to carriers under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) for transportation of perishable food. The protocol is published and managed by compliance support firm TransComply for adoption by carriers of all sizes and is modeled loosely after the Uniform Intermodal Interchange & Facilities Access Agreement (UIIA).
Carriers participating in the UFSTP will certify to shippers and brokers that they are familiar with and will comply with FDA requirements for cleaning equipment, training personnel, recordkeeping and refrigeration. In the absence of industrywide acceptance of uniform commercial terms, the FDA rule likely will lead to conflicting contracting terms that would frustrate the ability of carriers to contract for movement of perishable commodities in the spot market.
Although the FDA rule technically exempts carriers with less than $500,000 in annual revenue, shippers undoubtedly will expect carriers regardless of size to adhere to common standards. The protocol is a fair and accurate reflection of best practices and minimum standards that shippers, brokers and warehousing operations will expect from carriers.
“The UFSTP establishes much needed standards for compliance with FSMA, and we enthusiastically support the protocol,” said Jim Morse, chairman of carrier Refrigerated Food Express and broker RFX Inc, both based in Avon MA. “It’s our hope that the shipping community embraces the protocol because it is reasonable and in the best interests of all stakeholders.”
To participate in the protocol, carriers will need to complete an application and pay a nominal annual participation/ maintenance fee; sign the protocol warranting their agreement and compliance with the UFSTP’s terms and conditions; and arrange for transmission of certificates of insurance to TransComply. A listing of participating carriers with contact and insurance information will be available to shippers, brokers and others at www.ufstp.com.
Based in Birmingham AL, TransComply helps motor carrier operations meet safety regulatory and business contractual requirements through online resources and consultation. Services include ongoing compliance assistance and analysis of regulatory requirements; tools for new carriers to survive an FMCSA new entrant safety audit; and best practices in drafting and reviewing contracts and in publicizing carrier rules circulars.
See www.transcomply.com for more details on TransComply’s offerings.