While much attention has been paid to reducing contamination due to foodborne illness, many processors have not spent as much time addressing security issues.

Are they safe? Or have they been tampered with?
Existing food safety guidelines from FDA and USDA are intended to keep our nation’s food supply safe from bacterial contamination. But the Food Safety Modernization Act also addresses security issues-a key issue is food defense. Food defense is defined as the measures taken to protect food from deliberate tampering by criminal or terrorist sources.

The authors of a paper entitled, “National security at the dinner table: Changes aim to align national security with food safety,” describe procedures taken at McCormick and Company to set a thorough food defense plan in motion. Bill Ramsey, McCormick & Company corporate security director, and Frank Pisciotta, Business Protection Specialists president, list several issues food processors need to consider as the Food Safety Modernization Act is put into law.

Some of these include food processing in a non-registered facility, a food defense plan for interstate commerce, minimum performance standards for food processing and shipment conditions, safety standards for raw agricultural commodities, new tracing programs to identify each person in the food chain who has come into contact with food, requirements for food tracing and certifications, and compliance with food imports into the US.

McCormick put in place a goal-based security plan rather than a risk-based system that may not cover all the potential risks in a security program. Using the goal-based security concept, McCormick’s team was better able to understand the security issues involved, define what results must be demonstrated to ensure the goals are met and establish appropriate strategies to address security issues.

To learn more about the measures taken by McCormick, read the entire article, which appears on the FE website.

For more information on setting up a food defense program, contact Frank Pisciotta, Business Protection Specialists, 919-758-8058.