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NGFA, ag shippers partner with railroads on food safety initiative

Railroad cars Hulton ArchiveGetty Images
<p>NATIONAL GRAIN AND FEED ASSOCIATION leaders are asking the Surface Transportation Board to continue requiring rail carriers to report weekly service metrics to avoid more tie-ups in rail service. <em>(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images).</em></p>
Online portal will allow agricultural shippers to better identify last contents hauled in a particular rail car.

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA)and a coalition of agricultural shippers including the North American Millers Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, Pet Food Institute, and American Bakers Association announced this week a partnership with the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and Railinc to give shippers greater visibility into the recent commodities carried by covered hopper cars. This new resource will provide shippers with essential information to maintain the highest food safety standards and help prevent potential cross-contact with food allergens.

“Thanks to funding and leadership provided by AAR and Railinc, agricultural shippers will have access to a reliable resource to obtain information on the last three loads hauled in railcars, which is crucial to food safety and regulatory compliance,” said NGFA President and CEO Mike Seyfert. “NGFA also is grateful to the operational and technical experts representing industry users on a joint working group that was engaged at the outset in designing this new resource to ensure it has the functionality companies need.”

AAR President and CEO Ian Jefferies commented, “This partnership means that agricultural shippers – and ultimately families at the grocery store – can have greater confidence in their products’ safety,” said. “As long-time, valued customers, railroads are proud to partner on this innovative solution and look forward to fully implementing the program.”

The new online portal will allow agricultural shippers to better identify the last contents hauled in a particular rail car to continue to ensure the highest food safety standards are met and to comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s food sanitary transportation rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The secure, searchable user interface being developed by Railinc will rely on the company’s unique industry knowledge and management of critical industry systems that track nearly all the equipment in the North American rail fleet and the commodities transported.

This partnership between AAR, Railinc and the working group demonstrates the shared commitment by shippers, loaders, and carriers to strengthening the safety, reliability and efficiency of the U.S food supply. The portal is expected to launch in late 2021.

                                                                     

 

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