Script: Protecting Food During Transportation
Welcome to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service podcast. Each episode
will bring you cutting edge news and information about how FSIS is working to ensure public
health protection through food safety. While we’re on the job, you can rest assured that
your meat, poultry, and processed egg products are safe, wholesome, properly labeled,
and packaged correctly. So turn up your volume and listen in.
I’m with the FSIS Office of Data Integration and Food Protection. As you
develop your food defense plan, one aspect to consider is the possible
threat to your food products during transportation.
Assessments conducted by FSIS on various commodity systems have identified
transportation as a key vulnerability because:
As you evaluate your transportation security, first create a flow diagram
from point of origin to final destination, including all shipping modes and
- It is a vast and open system;
- The transportation phase is a less controlled environment so food
products are more accessible;
- There is less government regulation during the transportation phase;
- There is greater potential for unobserved access to food products;
- For imported foods, the transportation security level in many
foreign countries is not fully known.
Identify all the points during the transportation where intentional
adulteration could occur.
Then identify possible mitigation strategies such as:
For truck drivers, we recommend the following to enhance security:
- Implement a tracking system;
- Screen truck drivers;
- Use tamper-resistant seals;
- Consider requiring specific security measures in transportation
- Verify that contracted transporters and warehouse facilities have a
security program in effect;
- Establish policies and procedures for allowing truckers or rail crew
to enter the facility, and monitor their activities while on your
- Have recall and disposal procedures for contaminated product; and
- Train employees on the security plan and conduct regular tests to
verify the plan’s effectiveness.
FSIS has developed voluntary guidelines for processors, transporters, and
distributors with recommendations on transportation security measures. You
can find these on the FSIS web site at: www.fsis.usda.gov.
- Secure the trailer or container while en route, including food stops
and overnight stays;
- Be aware of someone expressing unusual interest in the type of cargo
- Avoid low-lit areas when parking;
- Have procedures to follow when a trailer is found unlocked and there
are signs such as open boxes, cut tape or broken seals, that the product
may have been tampered with; and
- Report any unusual circumstances - such as being followed—to the
Under “Browse by Subject,” click on “Food Defense & Emergency Response.”
On the right side of this page click on the “Guidance Materials” button and
this will take you to the page that provides the resources. They include
general guidance, as well as specific guidance for truck, rail, aviation,
and maritime transportation of food.
Protecting food during transportation is critical. Implementing
transportation security measures can benefit your business by:
“So why is Food Defense important to you?” It’s about protecting
Your Customers, Your Employees, and Your Business.”
- Providing value-added product;
- Detering theft and tampering;
- Maintaining greater control of product;
- Further protecting public health;
- Increasing public and customer confidence; and
- Possibly reducing insurance and freight rates.
Well, that’s all for this episode. We’d like your feedback on our podcast. Or if you
have ideas for future podcasts, send us an e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about food safety, try our web site at
www.fsis.usda.gov. Thanks for tuning