Washington, DC — February 15, 2002 — Food Marketing Institute (FMI) President and CEO Tim Hammonds and National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) Director Ronald L. Dick signed an agreement today establishing a public/private sector partnership with the Food Industry Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) led by FMI.

The Food Industry ISAC has a threefold mission:

  • Provide information and analysis that will enable the food industry to report, identify and reduce its vulnerabilities to malicious attack, and to recover from any attacks as quickly as possible.
  • Help the NIPC and FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Operations Unit identify credible threats and craft specific warning messages for the industry.
  • Have experts available to help the NIPC and FBI assess specific threats.

ISACs serve as voluntary industry contact points for gathering, analyzing and disseminating information between companies and the multi-agency NIPC based at the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC.

FMI has a long history of working with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, including successful programs to combat in-store bank robberies, apprehend professional check forgers, rescue missing children and combat organized retail theft rings.

“What’s new today,” said Hammonds, “is that in the wake of September 11 all of America’s strategic industries are now on the front lines of the war on terrorism.”

Dick explained why FMI is positioned to be a natural leader for the Food Industry ISAC: “The food industry is so large and diverse that there are literally thousands of contact points. But the entire industry comes together in the supermarket. That makes FMI a logical organization to coordinate an industrywide effort.”

Hammonds added, “We invite all segments of the food industry to contact us so that we can develop a cooperative approach to prevent deliberate acts that would threaten the safety of our food supply and the customers we serve.”

This new initiative does not replace any existing mechanisms for reporting criminal or terrorist incidents to law enforcement bodies or regulatory agencies, Hammonds said. “The purpose of the Food Industry ISAC is to centralize this information so that patterns can be identified and threats can be assessed in the light of data gathered by federal national security agencies.”

“All proprietary ISAC reports of threats or actual incidents voluntarily shared with the government,” he added, “are treated by the FBI and NIPC as sensitive information that is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information and Trade Secrets Acts.”

Established by a Presidential Directive, NIPC serves as the nation’s assessment, warning and law enforcement entity for threats or attacks against the nation’s critical infrastructures. All other executive branch departments are directed to share information about threats, warnings and actual attacks with NIPC. Seven industry ISACs have been established: Food, Oil & Gas, Electric Power, Banking & Finance, Information Technology, Telecommunications, and Water.