Indiana State Law Aims to Punish Non-Compliant Food Trucks

April 26, 2012

Starting in June, all trucks found transporting perishable foods without the proper refrigeration methods in Indiana will be subject to a Class A infraction and possible load seizure. The law states that a person may not operate a motor vehicle for the transportation of food upon a public highway unless the vehicle complies with state rules regarding transportation of food. This law is a breath of fresh air to anyone who remembers the stories of trucks containing raw vegetables soaked in meat drippings and transporting food at unsafe temperatures to ethnic markets and restaurants in Indiana. The kicker here is that Indiana State Police will be the ones in charge of inspecting vehicles to determine whether or not they comply.

“The law would expand police powers, giving state police the authority to confiscate equipment and loads,” said Joe Rajkovacz, regulatory affairs specialist with the Grain Valley, Mo.-based Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. “It is the first time I have ever seen the state police being given this kind of authority.”

Tom Karst (via The Packer) reported: If an officer finds that the temperature of the food is more than two degrees above the acceptable temperature, or if the food exhibits outward signs of contamination, of if the food is improperly loaded so as to risk cross-contamination, the law authorizes the officer detain the vehicle and to contact a health inspector to conduct an investigation. The law also states that a health inspector may order the disposal of certain food and the impoundment of noncomplying motor vehicles.

Barb Hunt, vice president of the Indiana Motor Truck Association, Indianapolis, Ind., said the legislation found overwhelming support in the legislature following the media reports about hot trucks last summer.

“We supported the law 100%,” she said. “Safety is our first priority and when you know that is going on, how could you not support that?”