Food Defense Plan in Food Engineering Magazine

Building a Robust Food Defense Plan

Food Engineering Magazine
Food Engineering Magazine recently published an article titled Tools for Building a Robust Food Defense Plan.  Lance Roberie, owner of Food Safety and Quality Services, LLC, was a primary contributor to this article. The article discusses the tools that are currently available for food facilities to use to build a strong food defense plan.
Food Defense Plan

Why has the approach to food defense changed?

After the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, FDA started an initiative to better understand the vulnerabilities within the food industry. After years of collaboration with industry experts, law enforcement and other specialists, FDA now recognizes that an inside attacker is the biggest threat to the safety of our food, from acts of intentional adulteration. So naturally, since the threat has changed, food defense plans must also change.

What you need to know about food defense?

Since threats and vulnerabilities to intentional adulteration of food have changed, having a parameter fence, guard shack, controlled access to processing areas, etc. is no longer as big of a focus as it once was. Now, food facilities regulated by FDA are required to conduct vulnerability assessments to understand how food may be vulnerable from acts of intentional adulteration by those people who have access to the food. Examples of those who may have access to the food include: employees, contractors, service providers, etc.    

What resources are available to the food industry?

Training

With the passing of the Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration rule, FDA partnered with the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) to develop new training programs to help food companies comply with the new rule. The FSPCA developed six training programs in total. Two are free and the other four vary in costs. Those training programs can be found here.
One of the most popular training classes is the Intentional Adulteration - Conducting Vulnerability Assessments using the 3 element method course. This class teaches participants how to properly assess risk in each step of their process, from individuals that want to adulterate food.  The course requires a certified lead instructor to deliver the curriculum.  Lance Roberie, owner of Food Safety and Quality Services, is one of the few lead instructors for this course and offers these classes both virtually and in-person.

Tools

There are several tools available for industry to use to assist with developing a compliant food defense plan. They include:

Food Defense Plan Builder:  The Food Defense Plan Builder is a software program that helps the user build a complaint plan by guiding them through all of the necessary components of a food defense plan, including preliminary tasks, vulnerability assessment, mitigation strategies, corrective actions and verification.


Food Defense Mitigation Strategies Database:  The Food Defense Mitigation Strategies Database is a tool that gives the user ideas for potential mitigation strategies to use when actionable process steps are identified.  The tool allows the user to choose the type of process category as well as the type of step in their process they are trying to protect.

What you need to do today

Most food companies now are required to be in full compliance with the new food defense rule. If your company has not completed a vulnerability assessment for acts of intentional adulteration for your facility, it could cost you during your next FDA audit.

The first step in complying with this new rule is to become a qualified individual.  A qualified individual is required to manage the program.  You can become a qualified vulnerability assessment individual by completing this Intentional Adulteration - Conducting Vulnerability Assessments training course.

Next, you will need to develop mitigation strategies for any actionable steps in your process, based on the result of your vulnerability assessment.  You will then need to monitor those mitigation strategies and develop pre-planned corrective actions to handle any deviations from the plan.

For more information on the new food defense rule, feel free to contact us to learn more.

About the author

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Lance Roberie

Food Safety Consultant and Trainer

Lance Roberie has over 20 years of quality assurance and food safety experience within the food industry. Mr. Roberie holds the following certifications:

Lance and the Food Safety & Quality Services’ training curriculum will advance your team's food safety knowledge through certified training, consulting, and “real life” industry scenarios.

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