FDA Recommends Tighter Security
January 24, 2002
Truckers who transport food may have to deal with stricter security measures by shippers and receivers.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued a guidance to food producers, transporters and retailers, listing measures that can be taken to minimize the risk of tampering or other criminal or terrorist actions. Compliance is voluntary, but the recommendations have reportedly been favorably received by the food industry.
Among other things, the agency is recommending that food establishment operators restrict access to food handling and storage areas. Visitors, including truck drivers, would need proof of identity and would be required to sign in and out. It also recommends that freight loading doors, trailers and tanker trucks be secured with locks, “jimmy plates,” seals, alarms, or other appropriate devices.
Truck drivers employed by food processors or retailers may have to undergo tougher pre-hiring screening, including criminal background checks and immigration status checks. The guidelines also recommend limiting employee access to only those areas that are necessary for their job functions.
FDA is considering the use of tamper-evident packaging and has asked for public comments on its feasibility. For now, it's suggested that food establishments require sealed trailers, containers and railcars. A system would have to be worked out to maintain chain of custody when a seal is broken for inspection by government officials.
Another recommendation is that public storage warehousing and shipping vehicles should be required, by contract, to practice appropriate security measures and that shippers periodically do compliance audits.
FDA says the guidance represents "current thinking" and has asked for comments and suggestions. Additional information can be found at www.cfsan.fda.gov.