Representatives from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attended a Board of Directors meeting for the International Refrigerated Transportation Association (IRTA), a Core Partner of the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), on Thursday, January 12, 2017. The FDA representatives in attendance were instrumental in the development and writing of the FDA's Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food Rule (STF) and provided details on the STF rule to the group, made up of thought leaders in the temperature-controlled transportation sector.
In 2016, IRTA published the IRTA Refrigerated Transportation Best Practices Guide, a guide to assist shippers, carriers, loaders, and receivers in understanding the STF rule and the best practices they need to observe to maintain compliance with the rule. The guide has since been downloaded by over 600 industry stakeholders.
The visit with FDA represents the next step in a series of industry collaborations on the rule led by IRTA. Most recently, representatives of industry associations including the American Frozen Food Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and the American Trucking Associations participated in a roundtable hosted by IRTA in Washington, D.C. during GCCA's Assembly of Committees in August 2016.
IRTA is working collaboratively with FDA to further refine the IRTA Refrigerated Transportation Best Practices Guide as a primary guidance document to inform the perishables industry of important best practices.
"We commend FDA for working with us to ensure our industry is prepared for compliance with the STF rule and for recognizing IRTA as an authority on the proper handling of food in the temperature-controlled transportation supply chain," GCCA President & CEO Corey Rosenbusch said. "GCCA has invested significant resources to create tools to both educate and inform the industry about this rule and how it impacts the entire cold chain."
Since its publication, the STF rule has been the focus of a number of GCCA-led discussions at major food industry events, including the International Baking Industry Expo and Northwest Food & Beverage World, to increase overall awareness of the rule and help those impacted understand their roles in the movement of food as defined by the rule.
"IRTA hopes that all parts of the industry, from shippers and carriers to loaders and receivers will use the IRTA Refrigerated Transportation Best Practices Guide as a primary resource when taking action to comply with the new rule," Rosenbusch said.
The guide is free and available to all interested parties for download on the GCCA website at http://www.gcca.org/resources/transportation-guide. Click here for a recording of GCCA's recent webinar detailing the STF rule and how to use the guide.