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A service for food industry professionals · Wednesday, June 19, 2019 · 488,487,684 Articles · 3+ Million Readers

In Defense of Food

By: Ashley Eisenbeiser, Director, Food and Product Safety Programs, Food Marketing Institute

mg-caption: Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Food Defense Plan BuilderBecause of the uncertainty of the world we live in, there has been an increase emphasis on food defense to protect the food supply from these intentional acts intended to cause harm. Food and product contamination can occur at any point in the supply chain—from field to table.  In some instances, contamination is unintentional, for example, contamination resulting from poor employee food safety practices. Contamination, however, can be intentional.  

FDA’s Intentional Adulteration (IA) rule is intended to protect public health by preventing intentional adulteration from acts that are intended to cause wide-scale harm, including acts of terrorism targeting the food supply. Generally, the rule applies to companies who manufacture, process, pack and hold food and are required to be registered food facilities with the FDA, including both domestic and foreign food facilities, are subject to the IA rule.  Although FDA’s Intentional Adulteration rule does not apply to retail food establishments, as the last link in the supply chain before food reaches  consumers, it is just as important for retailers to take the necessary actions to protect the food products they sell and reduce the risk of intentional harm. 

Food defense has long been a priority for retailers. Grocers have established food defense plans to actively prevent intentional contamination in the food supply chain. It is as important as ever for retailers to remain on alert and proactively looking for signs of tampering or intentional contamination or any othersuspicious activity that could put customers at risk. 

FMI has put together a resource document, Food Defense Guidelineas part of FMI’s Crisis Continuity Toolkit, to supplement many of the existing food defense resources and provide information to assist key personnel to prepare, respond, stabilize, and recover from a tampering or intentional contamination event. 

Resources to help ensure your company is prepared for a crisis before one occurs:

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