The new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) includes the biggest changes to food safety laws in over fifty years. It has information for food shippers, carriers, and distributors, who will need to conform to its edicts. If you’re curious about what the new act says about temperature, read on. We’ve summarized the key points so you can get a quick understanding of what’s expected for you and your company.

Most of the important temperature updates have to do with how food is transported. Since this is often where food is most vulnerable to spoilage, the new guidelines are stricter than what’s been seen in past years.

The shipper and carrier need to agree on how to monitor temperature

Any food that’s at risk needs to be stored properly in a refrigerated container while it’s being transported. Both the shipper and the carrier should then agree on a method for monitoring the temperature of that food, so they can prove that it was stored correctly.

The shipper is primarily responsible for confirming suitability of vehicle

Although the shipper and carrier need to agree on the monitoring method, the responsibility for confirming the suitability of the vehicle (truck, trailer, and/or container) primarily on the shipper. When the food is loaded, the loader needs to make sure that the refrigerated compartment is ready to transport the food safely, which might include additional procedures like precooling. The food should then be transported and arrive at its destination at a consistent, safe temperature.

The shipper needs to have written guidelines in place

Not only does the shipper need to keep food safe, they’re also required to develop and implement written guidelines for exactly how they are keeping food within the safe temperature range. These documents should be available on request for others to review. If food is transported in bulk, then the shipper should have guidelines to make sure that the temperature settings for the previous cargo do not affect the current cargo.

We hope these quick notes have been helpful to you. If you still need to get your guidelines in place, but don’t have an effective method for temperature monitoring, we recommend our Lightning NFC system. Our digital thermometers connect with our free Lightning NFC app, which makes recording and reviewing temperatures a breeze. All of your temperature data is stored securely in the cloud, where you can access it at any time. For more information, give us a call at (800) 338-8134.