« Is Your BYOD Policy Keeping Up with Your Employees’ Behavior? | Main | Quality Talent Leads to Quality Trucking: The Technology Advantage in Attracting, Engaging, and Retaining Top Talent in Transportation »

What You Should Know about the Sanitary Transportation of Food Rule

By Contributing Author | 03/31/2017 | 7:05 AM

By Jason Craig, C.H. Robinson

This year, April 1 has more meaning than just April Fool’s Day. For many in our industry, the Sanitary Transportation of Food (STF) rule goes into effect. Since this broad rule affects so many in the industry, here’s what you need to know:

  1. Commodities that fall under this rule

As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the STF rule applies to human or animal food items that are shipped open to the air, temperature controlled for safety, or shipped in bulk trailers or tankers via truck or rail.

The rule differentiates items that are temperature controlled for quality versus safety. Typical products that need temperature controlled shipping for safety include fresh meat and unpasteurized beverages. Whereas items like canned beverages and chocolate are often temperature controlled for quality so they would not be subject to this rule as long as they are in closed containers.

  1. Responsible parties

The rule affects people and organizations transporting human and animal food by truck or rail. It outlines parties as shippers (including 3PLs), loaders, receivers, and carriers (specifically truck and rail). Entities can be defined as:

  • Shipper – Arranges for transportation by a carrier or multiple carriers sequentially. Could be a manufacturer, broker, warehouse, or other entity. Several parties may assume the role of a shipper for a single load.
    • Loader – A person loading the trailer.
    • Receiver – A person unloading the trailer.
    • Carrier – An entity that physically moves the food by rail or motor vehicle.

Shippers need to have written policies and procedures in place for products. Carriers are also required to have written policies and procedures about how to handle instructions from shippers; they also need to train employees on general sanitary practices and internal procedures.

  1. STF’s staggered release

Officially, business with more than $25.5 million in annual receipts or those that employ more than 500 people should be in compliance with the STF rule by April 2017; all organizations smaller than that have until April 2018 to comply. That said, many shippers are expecting compliance from all carriers, no matter their size, by April 2017.

  1. Restating current best practices

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated this rule is not intended to impose significant new requirements in the industry—in fact, the industry is already completing most steps within the rule. The rule is simply a restatement or formal recognition of industry best practices with the addition of a documentation requirement.

Because most organizations already follow these general behaviors, we don’t expect to see a lot of material change relative to the safe transportation of food in the United States. If you have questions about the rule or how it will affect your business:

  • Visit the FDA’s website.
  • Work with your logistics provider.
  • Watch this six minute video of Chris McLoughlin, risk manager at C.H. Robinson, discussing the rule.


Craig Jason DSC_3498
Jason Craig — Director, Government Affairs

Jason has over 20 years of industry experience and a deep understanding of government policies. He monitors regulatory and legislative issues impacting the transportation and produce industries for C.H. Robinson. Jason is member of the Minnesota Freight Advisory Committee (MFAC) and serves as an election judge in the City of Minneapolis.



By submitting your comments, you agree to our Terms of Service.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About One-Off Sound-Off

Welcome to "One-Off Sound-Off," a blog page devoted to guest commentary on all things supply chain. This is a space where industry leaders can share their opinions and expertise with the logistics and supply chain community. If you have an article or commentary you'd like to share, please consider sending a guest blog proposal to feedback@dcvelocity.com.


Popular Tags

Subscribe to DC Velocity

Subscribe to DC Velocity Start your FREE subscription to DC Velocity!

Subscribe to DC Velocity
Go digital