In the age of terrorism, food defense is necessary for processors

All food processors need to take adequate steps to prevent adulteration.

As a matter of civil defense, food processors can play a vital role to insure that terrorists do not use food as a weapon. Producers, processors, distributors and retailers as well as need to consider security in their plans, to prevent intentional acts of sabotage to food products in their possession. Along with the plan proper documentation should be kept regarding security procedures. 

Every plan should name the individual or individuals responsible for the security. This individual should have an understanding of the necessary steps and documentation needed to secure food products. These steps would include limiting access to the food processing areas, and that only authorized personnel and guests have access. This would include logbooks to create a written record of who was in the production kitchen. Additionally, sensitive points within the process should also be protected, and the methods used for protection should be documented. 

Likewise, places where food is stored should be secured, and steps taken to prevent adulteration. This is particularly important in shared use kitchens and warehouses where storage areas are shared with multiple manufacturers and access to the space is not tightly controlled. In these areas, a locked storage “locker” would be advised. Transportation is also an area of concern, with reputable shippers and distributors with good security plans are necessary. 

The food processor should develop the systems necessary to limit access to places where food could intentionally be adulterated. Additionally documentation is critical for reducing risk to the processor. If a good plan is in place and well documented the possibility of intentional sabotage is significantly reduced. 

Educators at Michigan State University Extension and innovation counselors at the Michigan State University Product Center assist businesses in the establishment of good practices to improve product development and business effectiveness. For further information and assistance with employee communications please contact your local Michigan State University Extension office. 

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