By: Hilary Thesmar, PhD, RD, CFS, Chief Food and Product Safety Officer and Sr. Vice President, Food Safety Programs, Food Marketing Institute
Food defense has long been a priority for retailers. Grocers have established food defense plans to actively prevent intentional contamination in the food supply chain. However, it seems like every time we turn on the news, we witness another event that drastically changes the world, and consequently, impacting the way grocers do business. As global threats change and we learn of new targets, grocery stores remain well positioned to serve as trusted allies to shoppers. FMI’s U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2017 reports 95 percent of U.S. shoppers trust their grocery store to ensure the food that they purchase is safe. It’s now more imperative than ever for food retailers and wholesalers to remain vigilant to protect their businesses and maintain customers’ trust.
In September, FMI was made aware of unsubstantiated media reports stating terrorist networks were encouraging attacks on western supermarkets. In such situations, FMI works with the appropriate federal agencies regarding any threats or rumors of threats to shape our response. To assist our members, FMI hosted a food defense webinar with Rod Wheeler from the Global Food Defense Institute, to help food retailers evaluate their current food defense plans. During the webinar, Wheeler posed several important questions to consider when developing and/or evaluating your store’s food defense plan:
- What are the basic tenets of terrorism?
- Is your facility a soft-target or hard-target?
- What security measures do you have in place to prevent and identify to prevent product tampering and other malicious activity?
- Are your team members knowledgeable about and the role they play in keeping the food supply safe and secure?
- Is your store and premises secure?
Ensure your company is prepared for a crisis before one occurs. For more information, you can view last week’s webinar here.
Additional resources on Food Defense programs can be found below:
- FDA Food Defense Plan Builder
- FDA Resources
- USDA Resources
- FBI Field Office Listing
- The Food Protection and Defense Institute