Manufacturing News
TECH FLASH

Agroterrorism defense: Are you prepared?

Researchers are studying ways to reduce risk in the food supply chain.

February 13, 2013
Agroterrorism defense: Are you prepared?
Researchers are analyzing vulnerabilities in the liquid egg supply chain first. Source: Georgia Tech School of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

When we think of terrorist targets, skyscrapers and monuments probably come to mind before the national food supply. But researchers at Georgia Tech’s School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE) warn that the food supply is vulnerable and have urged the government and industry stakeholders to develop a plan to protect against biological, chemical, physical or radioactive contamination of the food supply.

To help address the threat, researchers are developing a model of food supply chains that can be used in the formulation of a protection plan. Associate Professor Alan Erera leads the six-year, $1 million research project that began in 2010.

“Our goal is to help make sure food products are safe from farm to fork by identifying food supply chain designs that ensure a high level of system productivity while mitigating the risks posed by intentional attacks on the food supply chain,” says Erera.

The model’s first application determines vulnerabilities in the supply chain for liquid eggs. Researchers tested adaptability scenarios including reducing the amount of liquid egg in each tank, housing the liquid egg in several facilities instead of just one, increasing the frequency of tank cleanings, changing the timing of certain activities and increasing security.

Each strategy has its advantages and drawbacks. For example, while reducing the amount of egg per container could decrease the total potential contamination, it would likely drive production costs higher. And while spreading operations out between multiple smaller facilities could also decrease the potential for large-scale contamination, production and security costs would tick up.

Erera’s team wants to find a way to significantly mitigate risk in the supply chain with only a small investment. To do that, they will continue to improve the model’s accuracy by studying other food products. Eventually, researchers hope to make recommendations for different industries about how best to protect products against a terrorist attack.

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

Recent Articles by Shane O'Halloran

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

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Plant of the Year 2014

Blue Diamond Growers was chosen as Food Engineering's 2014 Plant of the Year. The Sacramento-based company is the world’s largest producer of almonds and almond ingredients.

Podcasts

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

FE October 2014 Cover

2014 October

The October 2014 issue of Food Engineering explores companies that have successfully grappled with "the new business reality" and are coming to terms with it being here to stay. Also, read about the work going on behind the scenes to keep FSMA on track.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

FSMA Audit

What is the is most important step you have taken to become ready for a FSMA audit?
View Results Poll Archive

THE FOOD ENGINEERING STORE

Food-Authentication-Flyer-(.gif
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.

STAY CONNECTED

FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Master Cover 2014Food Master 2014 is now available!

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

Visit www.foodmaster.com to learn more.