It appears as though COVID-19 is not the only State of Emergency that needed to be extended, as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has updated its Declaration regarding the hauling of materials used in the production of baby formula.
The events started in February, when an Abbott plant in Michigan that produces baby formula shut down over fears of contamination.
The declaration was first announced at the start of June by the FMCSA, under the direction of President Joseph Biden and the Defense Production Act. It is now extended to the end of July.
Unlike the COVID-19 exemption, which deals with shipping to retail, this exemption involves business-to-business transactions. The federal government wants to ramp up production of baby formula, which means hours-of-service suspensions for the shipping of raw ingredients of baby formula to production facilities, such as:
- Corn syrup.
- Containers and packaging.
The declaration follows the standard procedures for hours-of-service suspensions. Most notably, “nothing in this Emergency Declaration shall be construed as a waiver of or exemption from any applicable requirements or any portion of the FMCSRs or other regulations for which relief is not specifically granted herein.” This means that shipping corn syrup to a production plant does not excuse reckless behavior such as running red lights or speeding. Additionally, a fatigued driver must be given a ten-hour break before being allowed to continue on the road.
The Declaration is set to end July 31st or when a formal statement is made about the State of Emergency ending, whichever is sooner. Considering the Abbott plant that’s shutdown started the baby formula shortage nationwide is reopening soon, it is likely to be the latter, although the FMCSA may find it more efficient to just let the Declaration expire naturally.
Regardless of the final outcome, it appears that the baby formula shortage’s days are numbered, due in part to the help of truckers. If you had delivered any goods to a baby formula processing facility in the past two months, give yourself a pat on the back for helping to resolve the issue of being able to feed our nation’s growing children.
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