USDA offers security guidance for food transporters

Just in time for the harvest season and the start of preparations for the winter and holiday retail season, USDA has issued a voluntary security guidance document for truck transporters of agricultural and food products. The Guide for Security Practices in Transporting Agricultural and Food Commodities is designed to improve the security measures practiced by the nation's 27,000 commercial transporters of agricultural and food products, thus bolstering national security and safeguarding public health.

"These guidelines are practical, flexible and proactive," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Jim Moseley on Oct. 5, during the American Trucking Association's (ATA) Agricultural and Food Transporters' Conference (AFTC) in Las Vegas. "USDA developed this document in partnership with ATA/AFTC and it serves as a great example of how successful we can be when government and the private sector work together on homeland security. This partnership will serve as a model for future efforts."

The guide's development was informed by the results of an ATA/AFTC survey of 24,000 commercial food and agriculture transporters regarding their concerns about security, terrorism, and where and how to get information. Survey results helped the guide's authors identify numerous practices used throughout the industry to safeguard people, property, products, processes, information, and information systems.

This guide follows the same approach as other guidance offered by USDA for food producers, processors and providers. All are consistent with and in support of Homeland Security Presidential Directive-9, Defense of United States Agriculture and Food and are available at www.usda.gov/homelandsecurity/homeland.html. The ATA/AFTC website offers information for acquiring the guide in print or on CD-Rom at www.truckline.com/cc/conferences/atc.

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