November 18, 2019

New Indiana Law Ups the Ante for Unsafe Transportation of Food

Under a state law in Indiana that will go into effect July 1, 2012, food and trucking companies will face greater sanctions for unsafe transportation of food and state police will have more authority to enforce.

According to a state fiscal impact summary of the reforms, individual truckers who operate a rig carrying food without complying with health rules concerning food transportation commit a Class A infraction carrying a fine of up to $10,000. In addition, any trucker caught hauling food that was ordered disposed commits a Class A misdemeanor.

The law authorizes the Indiana State Police to inspect, detain, and in certain cases impound a motor vehicle that does not comply with the health rules. It also provides that a health inspector may order the disposal of certain food in unsafe transport and the impoundment of noncomplying motor vehicles.

The Indiana State Police and the State Department of Public Health already work together to protect food safety. But currently, health inspectors only have authority for inspection, embargo and condemnation of food in transport. Troopers help by pulling trucks aside.

Since 2007, ISDH has inspected 259 trucks, finding 20 in violation and disposing of 15,937 pounds of food.

The new law recognizes the need for training troopers for the inspection work, but there is no corresponding cost estimate.

Unsafe transportation was behind the largest outbreak of food-borne illness on record in the United States. The case dates to 1994 when Schwan’s ice cream gave salmonellosis to 224,000 people across the country.

The Minnesota Department of Health determined the most likely cause to be the contamination of pasteurized ice cream premix during transport in tanker trailers that had previously carried nonpasteurized liquid eggs containing Salmonella enteritidis.

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