NGFA, ag shippers partner with railroads on food safety initiative

ARLINGTON, Va., April 26, 2021 -- The National Grain and Feed Association and a coalition of agricultural shippers including the North American Millers Association, National Oilseed Processors Association, Pet Food Institute, and American Bakers Association today announced 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.”

“This partnership means that agricultural shippers – and ultimately families at the grocery store – can have greater confidence in their products’ safety,” said AAR President and CEO Ian Jefferies. “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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The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), established in 1896, consists of more than 1,000 grain, feed, processing, exporting and other grain-related companies that operate more than 7,000 facilities and handle more than 70 percent of all U.S. grains and oilseeds. Its membership includes grain elevators; feed and feed ingredient manufacturers; biofuels companies; grain and oilseed processors and millers; exporters; livestock and poultry integrators; and associated firms that provide goods and services to the nation’s grain, feed and processing industry. NGFA also consists of 33 affiliated State and Regional Grain and Feed Associations, and NGFA is co-located and has a strategic alliance with North American Export Grain Association, and a strategic alliance with Pet Food Institute.

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is the world’s leading railroad policy, research and technology organization focusing on the safety and productivity of rail carriers. AAR members include the major freight railroads of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak. Learn more at www.aar.org.

Railinc is the railroad industry’s innovative and reliable resource for rail data, IT and information services. The company deploys data that helps railroads, rail equipment owners, and other industry participants manage their businesses more effectively and efficiently. Railinc is the largest single source of real-time, accurate interline rail data for the North American railroad system. Located in Cary, N.C., Railinc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads. For more information, please visit http://www.railinc.com.