Food Defense 101

Posted on: 11.04.2013

The first topic for the month of November is going to be Food Defense. We recently launched a Food Defense manual and certification because we want to educate the industry on why Food Defense is so vital. Here are some of the points we will hit in this post:

  1. What is Food Defense?
  2. What is the difference between Food Defense and Food Safety?
  3. Why is it so important?
  4. How do I know if I need a Food Defense plan?
  5. Who writes my Food Defense plan?
  6. What is the SHARE principle?

1. What is Food Defense?

Food defense is the protection against the act of intentional contamination of food. A food defense plan is a plan used to protect your food supply, your customers, and your brand. It incorporates the strategies needed to protect your food supply chain at specific vulnerable points.

2. What is the difference between Food Defense and Food Safety?

Food Defense is the prevention of intentional contamination and Food Safety is the prevention of unintentional contamination. In Food Safety, there is no motive behind the contamination, it is accidental. In Food Defense the contamination was intentional and the person had a motive for their actions. According to the World Health Organization; there are four categories for motive: mass casualties, economic and trade impact, impact on public health services, and social and political implications.

3. Why is Food Defense so important?

Food Defense is important because times are changing and there are more incidents of intentional food contamination everyday. Intentional contamination hadn’t been as big of an issue in the past, but now there are incidents being reported every year. Establishments need to have a plan in place for how to handle an incident in case it were to ever happen. Another reason why Food Defense is so important is because of globalization. Food is being transported all over the world, which means there are more equipment and more people handling the food. This leads to a greater chance of the food being tampered with.

4. How do I know if I need a Food Defense plan?

Your establishment needs a Food Defense plan if:

  • you serve RTE foods,
  • you carry products with a short shelf life,
  • you have uniformly mixed products, and/or
  • there are easily accessible parts of your operation.

In this day and age, if you serve food you should have a Food Defense plan regardless of how big or small your establishment is.

5. Who writes my Food Defense plan?

You! Who is more knowledgeable about your establishment than you and your employees? Our Food Defense course is meant to educate you on the importance of the plan and then walk you through step-by-step on how to write your plan. By the time you leave the class, you will have a plan that you can take to your establishment and implement right away. The purpose of the Food Defense course is to take the guessing out of Food Defense and get you all the information you need to create an effective plan against the intentional contamination of your food supply.

6. What is the SHARE principle?

The SHARE principle is the foundation for a food defense plan, which is what makes our course unique from others. The SHARE principle breaks down into five main areas: Strategy, Hazards, Accessibility, Restrictions, and Enforcement. SHARE incorporates science-based strategies and focuses on deterring food defense problems. It gives your company a proactive approach against intentional food contamination.

We hope that this blog has helped you understand Food Defense a little more and understand it’s importance in the food industry. If you are interested in getting more information or to sign up for a class, check out our website here