The Intersection of Risk and Opportunity: Food for Thought

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These are exciting days for food producers! The food industry is busy expanding production capabilities and venturing deeply into a broad range of healthy consumer choices. These facility expansion efforts and added production lines are energizing food producers.

At the same time, growth and product lines expansion efforts can create additional risks and liabilities. While the industry decides what priority to give food defense in light of this growth, there is little disagreement that Food Defense is a worthy objective and significant part of the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) equation.

The food industry has made very large investments in product quality and process quality controls to support rigorous food safety programs. While the Food Safety professionals are extremely well-qualified and skilled product safety experts, other subject matter experts (SMEs) are required to complete the food production picture.

People with an in-depth understanding of physical security, as it relates to the food environment and regulations, are extremely valuable to food industry expansion. These subject matter experts should be able to comprehend the food safety processes and investments developed by the company, and seek to leverage those quality fundamentals and dollars, with the realities of threats, risks, and vulnerabilities.

The FDA has developed a clear process and requirements for the industry. These requirements include:

• Vulnerability assessment to identify significant vulnerabilities and actionable process steps with explanations

• Mitigation strategies and associated explanations

• Procedures for food defense monitoring

• Procedures for food defense corrective actions

• Procedures for food defense verification

• Education, training, and qualifications

• A food defense plan

• Records that document all of the above items

• A review and analysis of the existing food defense plan

Our Enterprise Security Risk Group (eSRG) Food Defense whitepaper looks at one way the industry can balance the FDA requirements with the processes and investments food companies have already made. However, even a large financial spend can’t protect companies that leave the front door open. Effective physical security, well-maintained security technology, mapping of food safety and Key Activity Types (KATs) can bring unexpected rewards to companies focused on expansion, innovation, and greater production.

By leveraging subject matter experts and their keen insight into physical security concerns, key production areas and processes can receive well-researched mitigation strategies that are enhanced through some modification or additions to existing processes and investments. To help you choose qualified SMEs, this whitepaper offers a checklist of qualities and knowledge these professionals should possess.

Lastly, the eSRG Food Defense whitepaper provides a mini case study from an actual food defense project that our SMEs have completed. The conditions and results discussed in this whitepaper were shocking to this food industry client and resulted in immediate corrective action.

Key questions to ask:

Are you fully aware of your threats, risks, and vulnerabilities? Do you have internal SMEs that can dedicate the appropriate amount of time to research processes and technologies, engage the right stakeholders, analyze key processes, and develop the strategies that can effectively increase food product protection, while saving the greatest amount of budget dollars?

The industry would like a path to value; a roadmap. Whether you are or are not required to comply with FSMA today, you will want to read our Food Defense whitepaper to defend and optimize your organization.

You can receive the eSRG whitepaper by sending an email to info@AronsonSecurity.com using the subject header Food Defense.