When shipping food, those who deliver and receive goods have to prove that the containers they’re using are clean, whether it be truck, rail, or barge. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration released a new rule called the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
While much of it has been implemented, sanitary transportation enforcement and the budget looking forward has been unclear.
Iowa State University Grain Quality Specialist Dr. Charles Hurburgh says farmers are exempt from the sanitary transportation provision but grain processors still have to make sure that hazards don’t come into their grain, which means farmers can expect more requirements and stringent measures in keeping records of who is delivering grain and when, while dealing with an elevator or coop.
Hurburgh says farmers should start keeping records, “I would start doing those things now. How soon, or when, or the mechanism of actual enforcement is somewhat unknown. But the big issue, or the big meaning of FSMA, in general, is to establish a legal liability chain.”
Hurburgh says records can be mostly automated.
He says a farmer should come up with a statement of what was in the previous load, where it came from, who loaded it, and where it was put.
The enforcement date for sanitary transportation under FSMA is set for April.
Hurburgh says record keeping will probably be more work, but to expect the market to start pushing for more records regardless of regulatory enforcement.
He says, “In bulk grain terms, the majority of hazards that FSMA will look at happen on an erratic basis, ‘Who knows when?’ basis, coming from the farm. And the leader in that is mycotoxins.”
Hurburgh adds if you sell grain that goes to a human food processor, the system will get tighter because of allergens in soybeans and wheat.
Overall, he says to expect more terms added on to contracts on what grain is accepted and isn’t.