Recently Dr. Robert Buchanan, the director for the Center for Food Safety and Security Systems, traveled to Malaysia to present a course entitled Food Safety and Food Defense. The course covered a wide variety of topics highlighting the importance of a safe and secure global food supply.
The past decade has witnessed the expansion of traditional concerns related to food safety expanded to include food defense and food fraud/economic adulteration. This reflects concerns about the potential use of foods to intentionally cause harm to consumers and episodes of intentional adulteration of foods for economic gain than have led to large scale threats to public health. The combination of these areas of concern is increasingly being referred to as “food protection.” The importance of these concerns is increasingly evident in the inclusion of food protection in new regulatory programs in North America and Europe. The goal and purpose of the training is to provide the attendees with a general introduction to food defense, followed by more detailed instruction in techniques for managing these concerns.
The topics covered during the training session included:
- Differentiating food safety and food defense
- Differentiating food defense and economic fraud
- Types of food defense threats
- What kind of agents should we be concerned about?
- Conducting threat assessments
- Conducting vulnerability assessments
- Development of food defense plans
- Development of economic fraud plans
- Challenges of integrating food safety and food defense into an integrated food protection plan
- Food protection challenges in a global marketplace
- Technologies that can assist in safeguarding the food supply from intentional contamination
- Case studies and hands on instruction to apply their new knowledge in realistic scenarios
The course was a resounding success and received great feedback. The concepts learned will have far reaching effects in the months and years ahead. This is part of a much larger project involving a train the trainer collaboration between the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) and the Ministry of Health, Malaysia. We look forward to our continued collaboration over the coming years. We also thank the Ministry and Malaysian government for their hospitality.