ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, US — A coalition of agricultural shippers are teaming up to maintain food safety and prevent potential cross-contact with food allergens of commodities being transported via rail.

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) along with the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA), the National Oilseed Processors Association, the Pet Food Institute, and the American Bakers Association (ABA) has partnered with the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and Railinc to give shippers greater visibility into the recent commodities carried by covered hopper cars.

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

“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 Mike Seyfert, president and chief executive officer of the NGFA. “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.”

It is another step in giving ag shippers the ability to provide safe products to consumers.

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

Dale Nellor, vice president, government and technical affairs for NAMA said, “NAMA welcomes the opportunity to collaborate on this important initiative. It will provide the milling industry quicker and greater access to essential information that will help NAMA’s members maintain a high level of food safety, a top priority for our industry.”