Functional Food Defense Plans
A functional food defense plan is an important tool an establishment can use to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from an intentional contamination incident.
What makes a food defense plan functional?
A food defense plan is functional when it meets all four of the following conditions:
- Developed – the plan is documented and signed
- Implemented – food defense practices are implemented
- Tested – food defense measures are monitored and validated
- Reviewed and maintained – the plan is reviewed at least annually and revised as needed
Step 1: Develop your food defense plan
The food defense plan should be written or documented to identify mitigation strategies and protective measures that will be implemented within the facility. Vulnerability assessments help to inform where mitigation strategies are needed.
Step 2: Implement mitigation strategies and protective measures
Mitigation strategies are preventive measures to better protect facilities, personnel, and operations.
Available Tools and Resources:
- Food Defense Risk Mitigation Tool - this tool identifies some possible countermeasures that companies could implement, as part of a food defense plan, to better protect their business, employees, and customers.
- Food Defense 101 (including ALERT) – provides training in preparedness against an intentional attack on our food supply. The course provides an understanding of and guidance for developing a food defense plan based on a common sense approach.
- Employees FIRST – provide general mitigation measures to improve overall food defense posture and can be an integral part of food defense plans.
- If You See Something, Say SomethingTM – developed in collaboration with USDA, FDA, industry partners, DHS, and FBI, the flyer contains indicators of suspicious activities and recommended protective measures for food service and retail food establishments (available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.)
Step 3: Test the mitigation strategies and protective measures
The food defense plan should be tested at least annually. Testing your plan can be as simple as verifying that food defense practices you have in place, such as locks and cameras, are functional. The following tools can help you test your food defense plan:
Available Tools and Resources:
- Food Defense Preparedness and Recall Exercise Package (FD-PREP)
FD-PREP is a compilation of scenarios based on potential intentional food contamination events. FD-PREP is designed to help establishments test and validate their food defense and recall plans.
- Food-Related Emergency Exercise Bundle (FREE-B) – designed with the intention of assisting government regulatory and public health agencies in assessing existing food emergency response plans, protocols and procedures that may be in place, or that they are in the process of revising or even developing. The FREE-B is designed to allow for multiple jurisdictions and organizations (medical community, private sector, law enforcement, first responder communities) to ‘play’ with the host agency, or, quite simply, for an individual agency to test their own plans, protocols and procedures independently.
Step 4: Review and Maintain
Reviewing and maintaining a food defense plan is important to ensure that it remains current and functional. Annual review of the food defense plan is recommended, although routine monitoring and surveillance, exercises, real-world incidents, or other changes may result in more updates.
Food Defense Plan Survey
From 2006 to 2016, FSIS measured the status of industry’s adoption of functional food defense plans via an annual survey. Surveys were issued to FSIS Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) in all meat and poultry slaughter and processing establishments, processed egg product plants, and official import inspection establishments. The voluntary adoption of food defense plans was included as a performance measure in the FY2010-FY2015 and FY2014-FY2018 USDA Strategic Plans. The target was for 90 percent of establishments to have a functional food defense plan by 2015. FSIS also included the voluntary adoption of food defense plans as a performance measure in its FY2011-FY2016 Strategic Plan. As shown below, the voluntary adoption of functional food defense plans by industry consistently increased from 2006 to 2016, with 85% of establishments having a plan in 2016.
Percent of establishments with a functional food defense plan.
2006 - 2016 Food Defense Plan Survey Results
|Establishment Size||Aug 2006||Nov 2007||Aug 2008||Dec 2009||Jul 2010||Jul 2011||Aug 2012||Sept 2013||Aug 2014||Jul 2015||May 2016|