Food defense

The proper translation of the term “Food defense” is the protection of the food from intentional contamination using a variety of chemicals, biological agents or other harmful substances by people who want to do us harm. In simple terms it is the resiliency of the food system — reducing the impact of intentional system attacks or catastrophic events. “Food defense” differs from “food safety” in the fact that the second one tries to protect foods from non-intentional contamination from contaminants that logicaly are present in food chain like  E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria etc.

Why to develop a food defense plan for my business?

A food defense plan will help in the identification of the steps a business should take to minimize the danger of an intentional contamination or change of foods in its premises. Such a plan elevates preparedness. It must be always installed and implemented however in case of emergency it will be extremely useful. During a crisis, stress is a dominant factor and the response time is valuable.  A documented set of guidelines improves the ability of an organization to react fast. A food defense plan keeps a working environment safe for the employees, gives a safe product to the customers and protects your business.

 

Are there any real bioterrorism examples?

Yes there are. In 1978, a dozen children in the Netherlands and West Germany were hospitalized after eating oranges imported from Israel. The Abu Nidal Organization, using the nom de guerre the Arab Revolutionary Council, deliberately contaminated the fruit by injecting it with mercury in an attempt to damage the Israeli economy. In another case in 1984 (one of the few known successful attempts at using a biological agent to contaminate food in the United States) in the small Oregon town of The Dalles, followers of cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, attempted to manipulate a local election by infecting salad bars in 10 restaurants with Salmonella typhimurium, causing about 751  people to become ill!

In Greece in December of 2013 the organization Informal Anarchist Federation/International Revolutionary Front, cores Nicholas and Alfredo warned in a statement to the press, that it had contaminated  products of Coca Cola and Nestle with hydrochloric acid as a sign of solidarity with two of its members, who were imprisoned in Spain for placing explosive devices. Its actions were dedicated to all cores of the organization worldwide. That was the first time of such a terrorist practice in foods in Greece. The result was a series of product recalls and statements of the above companies in a period of high sales because of the terrified consumers. 

 

What is discussed in food defense?

  • The impact of an attack to public health and economy is measured.
  • The level of ease / difficulty of access to facilities targets is examined.
  •  The level of ease / difficulty of the business to recover from an attack is recorded.
  • The level of ease of a general attack to the company is assessed.
  • The level of production loss after an attack is recorded.
  • The easiness of specific points in the facilities is identified.
  • The combined health, economy and psychological effect of an attack is estimated.

How can Virtuous Triad help you?

Virtuous Triad can help you set up a food defense policy with a methodology implemented and certified by the world renowned organization AIB International (American Institute of Baking). Using the tool “CARVER & Shock” we can help you identify preventive measures to increase the safety of your products and your operations. The tool’s methodology helps business to think like the intruder. This way weak spots are identified and the business can take the apropriate countermeasures (for example improvements in the physical security of the premises, personnel security, operations etc.). For more details, a discussion with us will help you clarify the way your business can make food defense a reality.