Developing Food Defense Plans
Welcome to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service podcast. Each episode
will bring you cutting edge news and information about how FSIS is working to ensure public
health protection through food safety. While we’re on the job, you can rest assured that
your meat, poultry, and processed egg products are safe, wholesome, properly labeled,
and packaged correctly. So turn up your volume and listen in.
Hello, I’m with the Office of Food Defense and Emergency Response. Today I’d like to talk
about developing food defense plans for your establishment. A food defense plan helps
you minimize the risks of intentional contamination to your products.
Food defense means putting measures in place that reduce the chances of someone intentionally
poisoning the food supply in order to kill or hurt people…, disrupt our economy…, or ruin
a business. Unfortunately, the things you do to keep food safe may not always be
enough to protect your products. That’s why developing a well written food defense plan
How do you go about doing that? FSIS recommends using 3-steps when developing food defense
The first step is to conduct a self assessment of food defense measures you currently
have in place. This means evaluating the security measures of your establishment – both
the exterior and interior of the facility. For example, look at how food ingredients and
hazardous materials are stored. Check the shipping and receiving areas and procedures
that are followed in those areas. Review personnel security procedures. These are just
a few areas that should be considered.
A responsible person or team approach should be used to conduct the assessment.
FSIS has developed checklists to assist you in conducting your self assessment which are
available on our FSIS web site www.fsis.usda.gov.
The second step is to develop your food defense plan.
Identify cost-effective and practical measures to address weaknesses in your establishment.
These are only a few examples, but at a minimum, your food defense plan should address:
- Minimize threats from visitors, salespersons, contractors, or others who are not
employees by limiting access using programs such as checkpoints or badges.
- Another example is to reduce possible use of hazardous materials as intentional
contaminants by securing them in locked storage areas and away from other inventory.
Keep in mind that as you develop your food defense plan you may already have some of these
measures in place, such as sanitation standard operating procedures (also known as SSOP’s),
emergency response procedures, security and risk management plans, and other company programs
that relate to emergency response.
- Inside security,
- Outside security,
- Storage security,... and
- Shipping and receiving security.
The third and your final step is to implement the food defense plan. Once you implement
the plan, review and test your plan regularly to make sure the measures you put in place
are still working. It’s important to update the plan if changes or improvements need to
Food defense is a shared responsibility of the food industry and government. FSIS has
created guides to help you in developing a cost-effective food defense plan for your establishment.
For additional food defense information, talk to your FSIS inspector or frontline supervisor,
or visit the FSIS website at: www.fsis.usda.gov.
Food defense! It’s about protecting your customers, your employees, and your business.
Well, that’s all for this episode. We’d like your feedback on our podcast. Or if you
have ideas for future podcasts, send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more
about food safety, try our web site at www.fsis.usda.gov.
Thanks for tuning in.