5 Mitigation Strategies to Consider for Your Food Defense Plan - Paster Training

5 Mitigation Strategies to Consider for Your Food Defense Plan

Unintentional foodborne illness kills thousands of people each year! It sickens millions more. Imagine how much damage could happen if someone intentionally tampered with food?

The protection of food from dangerous terrorism attacks is something that you as a food manufacturer, processor, and/or distributor must take seriously.

The modern food distribution networks are fast and widespread. Intentional adulteration of food can cause serious harm or death to a large number of people before it is detected.

That's why there are no cutting corners when it comes to your food defense plan.

Want to know what this type of plan entails? Keep reading to learn more!

Why You Need a Food Defense Plan

A final rule was implemented on May 27, 2016, by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as part of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

This rule focuses on the prevention of food fraud and food contamination with the intent to harm the public.

Certain facilities are required to develop and implement a food defense plan. The plan should include the identification of vulnerabilities to protect food from intentional threats such as acts of terrorism.

These apply to both domestic and foreign companies that must register with the FDA as food facilities as required by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act.

The act protects food from people who try to intentionally tamper with food to either cause illness or death on a large scale.

1. Conduct a Vulnerability Assessment

Part of the plan is the need to conduct vulnerability assessments. This is where facilities find points in the food processing that could be at risk of intentional adulteration and food contamination.

Conducting a vulnerability assessment is complex. You can use the Four Key Activity Types method to prevent food fraud.

These are the receiving and loading of bulk liquid, storage/handling of liquid, handling a second ingredient, as well as mixing, and other activities.

You may also evaluate the Three Fundamental Elements. These are:

  1. The public health impact.
  2. The level of access to the product.
  3. The ability of someone to contaminate the product.

Another method is the Hybrid Approach. This combines both the Key Activity Types and Three Fundamental Elements methods together.

2. Preventative Strategies to Address Vulnerabilities

The food defense plan must also have a strategy to address vulnerabilities that come up during the vulnerability assessment process.

This ensures that the vulnerabilities are being taken care of. An example of a vulnerability in a food facility might be an open access hatch on a large food storage silo that doesn't have a cover.

However, this doesn't automatically make it a vulnerability. That's why the assessment carried out by your specific facility is so important.

3. System for Food Defense Monitoring, Corrective Action, & Verification

Next, the act requires a system of food defense monitoring, food defense corrective action, and food defense verification to be put in place.

These three tactics work together to address weaknesses in the process and prevent tampering with the food.

4. Recordkeeping

As part of any good food defense plan, there should be recordkeeping. This ensures that everything is being monitored and tracked.

The facility must maintain these records on their food defense monitoring, corrective actions, and verification activities.

5. Training

Lastly, the food defense plan must inform personnel and their supervisors who work at the most vulnerable points in the facility. This is needed to inform management who needs to be educated on food defense awareness and food authenticity.

This helps them receive the proper training in order to understand how to implement strategies of protection.

Additional training is given to personnel who oversee the vulnerability assessments, mitigation strategies, and reanalysis activities.

Are You Confident in Your Food Defense Plan?

Do you still have questions about your own food defense plan? You understand the importance of maintaining a strategy. However, it can be difficult to keep track of all the rules.

If you're looking for further guidance on mitigation strategies, then we've got you covered. Sign up for our expert food safety training today!

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