Food Defense Considerations for Transportation of FSIS-Regulated Products
Commercial food transporters move the vast majority of all food commodities shipped on a daily basis throughout the United States. Together, the food and transportation sectors are vital to the Nation’s economy and public health. Thus, transportation is a critical point in the food supply chain.
Products in transport provide significant opportunities for access. Food truck thefts and deceptive pickups also provide an opportunity to contaminate food and reintroduce it into commerce. Therefore, planning for and implementing security practices in the commercial transportation of food products will enhance efforts to ensure the continued safety and security of those products.
The protection of food during transportation is a shared responsibility requiring actions by all stakeholders including transporters, customers, suppliers, law enforcement, and government agencies. Individuals in the transportation sector need to have increased awareness of the threat of both intentional and unintentional contamination of the food supply. They also need to have access to training and tools available to prevent and report an incident.
As this phase of the food supply chain was consistently identified as a vulnerable point in FSIS’ commodity vulnerability assessments, an assessment was conducted specifically on the transportation phase to evaluate this vulnerability and identify potential countermeasures. The agency conducts outreach to and works closely with its Federal partners and the private sector to develop and implement mitigation strategies to prevent contamination during transportation.
The benefits of implementing food defense security measures during transportation include:
- Providing value-added component to product;
- Deterring theft and tampering;
- Maintaining greater control over product;
- Protecting public health;
- Increasing public and customer confidence, including trading partners; and
- Possibly reducing insurance and freight rates.
FSIS Tools and Resources for the Transportation Industry
- FSIS developed voluntary security guidelines for transporters and distributors of meat, poultry, and processed egg products to assist industry with recommended additional security measures to further protect the integrity of the food supply: Food Defense Guidelines for the Transportation and Distribution of Meat, Poultry, and Processed Egg Products .
- USDA also collaborated with the Agriculture and Food Transportation Conference to develop similar guidance, which includes a self-assessment tool for transporters to identify potential vulnerabilities: Guide for Security Practices in Transporting Agricultural and Food Commodities (PDF Only).
- Finally, the FSIS Food Defense Risk Mitigation Tool includes strategies for additional security measures that can be implemented for the transportation of food products.