Food Safety

Tighter food defense requirements seen by security expert

It’s not too early to think about automating plant security functions.

MillerCoors’ Mark Powers outlines implications of the Food Safety Modernization Act for plant security and food defense at the May 10 ADT Media Summit in Chicago. Source: Kevin T. Higgins.
While plant security guidelines under the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) won’t be published until July, MillerCoors security specialist Mark E. Powers believes the ability to document access-card use, the condition of perimeter defenses and other aspects of safeguards against intentional food contamination will be explicit requirements.

Speaking at an ADT Media Summit on food defense in Chicago May 10, the brewery’s regional security and emergency manager said security officers from a number of food and beverage companies have been working with the Grocery Manufacturers Association to lobby federal regulators to minimize the financial costs of food defense. “The single biggest cost factor to food companies [for FSMA compliance] was going to be food defense,” Powers said, and the industry has pressed hard for workable guidelines that would not turn plants into “FortKnox.” Nonetheless, the final rules will require a more rigorous and verifiable security strategy. Companies will have to document their assessments of potential risk of deliberate adulteration within their facilities and be able to produce records for auditors to verify procedures are being followed.

“There is nothing in FSMA that says you have to have electronic systems,” said Powers, “but you can’t [satisfy] FSMA without historical records of CCTV recordings, access card use” and maintenance records of system components.

Installing and maintaining security hardware can add up to significant capital expenditures, he conceded, but Powers said he has documented returns on investment of 10-40 percent on projects. He cited work for a major food company that began with a $1.6 million installation at a single manufacturing site. According to Powers, payback occurred in six months, an ROI of almost 45 percent. Ten distribution centers were equipped with $500,000-$1 million in surveillance equipment and generated returns of 15-25 percent.

Many of the returns were generated by charges assessed to vendors based on video surveillance. In one instance, cameras captured a delivery truck sideswiping a loaded trailer, toppling the trailer and resulting in $150,000 in damages, which the delivery company was forced to pay. Late delivery charges of $50,000 to $100,000 per site were realized by date-stamped video documenting late deliveries. At a South Carolina facility, a $12,000 video system documented vehicle thieves removing cars from the parking lot, leading to the shutdown of a $20 million theft ring.

Soft savings from surveillance included the elimination of “contamination pranks” by employees within the plant, the virtual elimination of OSHA recordable injuries on the loading docks of another facility and the eradication of drug dealing and prostitution at a plant’s trailer yard.


For more on plant security, see:

“Plant Security: Access Granted,” FE, JAN 2011.

“National security at the dinner table,” Bill Ramsey, Frank Pisciotta, FE On line.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo 2015

Images from Food Engineering's Food Automation & Manufacturing Conference and Expo in Clearwater Beach, Florida, April 12-15, 2015. The event brought food and beverage processors and suppliers together to gain valuable information on the latest trends and technologies in manufacturing, automation, sustainability and food safety.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering May 2015 Cover

2015 May

The May 2015 issue of Food Engineering explores effective tools for hitting manufacturing targets. Also, read how processors are looking for faster ways to detect harmful pathogens in food and beverages without sacrificing accuracy or reliability.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Plant Facility/Site Issues

What issue about your current plant facility/site keeps you up the most at night?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.