New Laws Regarding Perishable Goods

Tom Chicoine
October 17, 2012 — 1,087 views  

Fighting to ensure food safety is far from over and in this effort laws are the best weapons to be used. Few months ago, two laws in Indiana were destined to support better food safety measures and practices and to provide new funding source for local road infrastructure. The regulations target commercial vehicles and probably will produce some changes to the way fleets are being managed.

The first law is clearly designed for enhancing the state's power of better supervising the perishable goods transportations.  Basically, Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law a bill to allow the Indiana State Police to inspect commercial vehicles transporting food products to make sure loads comply with certain health regulations. Troopers are allowed to detain affected vehicles to determine compliance with applicable food safety rules. In addition, health inspectors could order the disposal of certain food and the impoundment of vehicles that are not compliant. Offenders that are found to be transporting loads that are violating the regulations in place could face $10,000 fines. The transportation of food ordered to be disposed could result in $5000 fines.

These regulations are not to be joked about and not only because food safety aspects are involved. In the past 5 years the Indiana State Department of Health truck inspections ended in 15,937 pounds of disposed food, so if you do not want your business to register increased losses you must be sure that your load of perishable goods will be 100% compliant with the current legislation when checked. Rep. Bill Davis, R-Portland, said the change will help ensure transporters are complying with food safety standards. Everybody's food is handled by commercial vehicles and considering that there is no efficient process in place for monitoring the food through the supply chain, safety rules are necessary to keep contaminants away from food.

As for the second law, it is related to local road projects. Starting July 1, 2012, counties is authorized to spend property tax revenue to maintain county highways. The affected roads typically are funded through a combination of fuel taxes, vehicle and county fees. Before that Indiana law mandated property taxes to be used for county highway maintenance only in case of an emergency. Unanimous approval from the county councils also was required.

Rep. Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale declared that the aim of the new law was to offer county officials the flexibility to use revenue from their general fund for road maintenance when needed. The new law allows counties to spend property tax or other miscellaneous general fund revenue on highway maintenance.

When you are running a business connected to the food supply chain always keep an eye on the continuously changing food safety regulations in order to be sure that your profits stay up.

Tom Chicoine