Statements made in response to TODAY investigation on food delivery trucks

On Thursday, September 22nd, TODAY aired a report about food temperature violations in food delivery trucks. Below are statements in response from spokespersons from the FDA, the American Truckers Association, the National Restaurant Association and the International Foodservice Distributors Association.

Statement from FDA spokesperson Douglas Karas:
"When developing new regulations, any regulatory agency must be deliberate and methodical. Regulations must achieve their aim, taking into account costs and benefits, and be enforceable, and when drafting them, a regulatory body must have a good understanding of the specific area to which those regulations will apply. A set of rules that is not well-informed would likely cause more harm than good. Prior to the passage of the Sanitary Food Transportation Act (SFTA), the FDA did not have a significant role in regulating the transport of food. The SFTA gave us a mandate to be much more active in that area, and we have undertaken a multi-step approach to develop the governing rules. First, FDA needed a thorough understanding of the food transportation industry and its potential problems. FDA commissioned a study on that, and it was completed in 2009. The next step was to announce publicly that the rule-making process had started, which would allow the Agency to get input on the rules early on from the public, industry, and our regulatory partners. This can be a crucial step in drafting comprehensive and enforceable regulations. We published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in April 2010 for this purpose and we gained many helpful comments in the process. We are currently developing the proposed rule, and we have made this a part of the implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act to ensure we have seamless integration of all the rules required under that groundbreaking legislation."

Statement from American Trucking Associations spokesperson Sean McNally:
“American Trucking Associations takes safety, whether it is highway safety or food safety, very seriously. ATA estimates more than 85 million shipments of food occur annually in the U.S., and it is important that companies handling those deliveries do so according to the rules and regulations governing food safety. Federal and state food safety regulations exist for a reason and we believe efforts to stamp out rogue transporters are good not only for the American public, but for the vast majority of food transporters who are operating in a safe and legal manner.”

Statement from National Restaurant Association spokesperson Scott DeFife:
"There is no greater priority for the restaurant industry than food safety, and there are strict industry standards for temperature control of incoming products. Restaurants and their suppliers should have internal policies and procedures about food temperature, and should also follow requirements from the FDA's Food Code. To ensure that the products they receive meet food quality and safety standards, restaurateurs should work closely with their vendors and be vigilant about the integrity of their supply chain."

Statement from International Foodservice Distributors Association spokesperson Mark Allen:
"Reputable foodservice distributors make food safety a top priority, in part, by ensuring cold chain integrity. This extends from the sourcing, receipt, and storage of product to delivering that product to a restaurant’s walk-in cooler or freezer. We strongly recommend that foodservice operators know who they are buying from. They should be familiar with their distributor’s food safety program, including cold chain practices, to ensure product safety and the distributor’s compliance with government safety requirements. Cost should not be the only criteria that foodservice operators use in determining the distributor they use — food safety practices have to be a top priority as well."