Indiana Senate approves food transportation safety bill

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The Indiana Senate has unanimously approved a food transportation safety bill drafted in response to Eyewitness News' "Hot Trucks" investigation.

Thursday afternoon, senators voted 49-0 to approve HB1298. It will give Indiana State Police authority to ticket a trucking company for transporting food under unsafe conditions.

"This might be the most important piece of legislation we pass this entire session," said Sen. Tom Wyss (R-Fort Wayne) after Thursday's vote. "We're sending a message that this is not acceptable and state police are watching."

During the past year, 13 Investigates has documented truckloads of dangerous food heading to Indiana restaurants and grocery stores. Eyewitness News video showed spoiled meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products and produce being transported in unrefrigerated trucks on 90-degree days. Often the food was loaded improperly, leading to cross-contamination of raw meat and vegetables that can greatly increase the risk of food poisoning for millions of Hoosiers.

Indiana State troopers are currently allowed to stop a truck to check its contents, but they do not have authority to issue a citation if they find food products that violate state safety laws. HB1298 would change that.

Rep. Bill Davis (R-Portland) drafted HB1298 after seeing WTHR's investigation. His bill unanimously passed the Indiana House of Representatives earlier this month. Before following suit, the Senate added an amendment to the bill, so the legislation will now head back to the House for final approval – expected to come as early as next week – before heading to the governor.

See all stories related to this investigative series.