Food Defense 101
Food defense vs. food safety
Food Safety refers to handling, preparing and storing food to minimize the risk of foodborne illness.
A food safety incident is caused from an accidental food borne illness. Some examples of a food safety incident result from food handlers not washing their hands, cross-contamination, not cooking food to a temperature that kills bacteria, and an unsafe source.
Food Defense is the protection of food products from intentional contamination or adulteration intended to cause public health harm or economic disruption.
Reasons for intentional contamination may be:
- To seek revenge against another person or group
- Disgruntled employees wishing to harm an employer or former employer
- Create fear through a terrorist act by using food as a weapon
What can businesses do?
Simple steps can improve your food defense practices.
- Train your staff in food defense
- If you see something, say something
- Keep your ears and eyes open
Secure access to your business:
- Keep doors locked
- Limit access
- Only allow authorized personnel in kitchens and delivery areas
- Check in all food deliveries
- Check ID for delivery drivers and have them sign in
- Compare items delivered to invoice or packing slip
- Only accept food from approved sources
Putting a food defense system in place
In 2018, the City of Minneapolis identified a gap in awareness, training, and response for food defense incidents.
To address the gap, Minneapolis developed one of the first food defense response plans in the country.
The food defense response plan was developed by local, state, and federal environmental health, law enforcement and higher education professionals.
What can you do?
Create a food defense incident response plan using a criminal-epidemiological framework. The food defense response plan documents listed below can serve as templates for cities, counties and states.
To obtain a copy of these templates, or for more information, contact the Minneapolis Health Department at 612-673-2301 or [email protected] Include "Food defense" in your subject line.
Food Emergency Response Planning Documents User Guide
Food Emergency Response Plan – Intentional Contamination Template
Appendix 1 – Training Materials Template
Appendix 2 – List of Select Agents and Toxins Template
Appendix 3 – Joint Threat Assessments Template
Appendix 4 – Joint Investigation Activities Template
Appendix 5 – Joint Interviews Template
Intentional Food Contamination Response Field Operations Guide Template
Food Defense Pocket Card
The Eight Patient https://vimeo.com/87104548
Why do we care?
We are all vulnerable to a food defense incident because we all eat. The history of food defense incidents has increased over the past 30 years.
This suggests there are a greater number of people and organizations capitalizing on weaknesses in the food system. This includes disgruntled employees, foreign and domestic terrorist groups, and "lone wolves."
Food defense incidents
- The first recorded food defense incident dates to 590 B.C. and involved the Athenians contaminating drinking water in the city of Kirrha to render their enemy defenseless.
- In 1984, the Rajneeshee cult in Dalles, Oregon contaminated ten salad bars with Salmonella enterica Typhimurium which resulted in 752 ill community members and 45 hospitalizations.
- In 2013, Aqli Foods Co. in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, recalled 6 million products due to an employee with insider knowledge of the facility spraying frozen food products with Malathion pesticide.
- In 2016, an employee added sand and dirt from the facility parking lot into the chicken product at Gold n' Plump in Cold Spring, MN.
- In 2017, a customer at a popular grocery store, Whole Foods Market, in Ann Arbor Michigan was caught spraying a mixture of rodent poisoning and hand sanitizer on salad bars and produce.
- 98% of confirmed food defense incidents have occurred locally at restaurants, grocery stores, and other places where consumers can purchase food.
Should you require a reasonable accommodation in order to fully participate, or information in an alternative format, please contact 612-673-2301.
Para asistencia 612-673-2700 - Rau kev pab 612-673-2800 - Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.
Last updated Apr 1, 2019