Food Defense (EN)

#FoodDefense, #DefensaAlimentaria, #CertificaciónFoodDefense | News | December 28, 2017

According to the North American FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) the term Food Defense includes every effort to protect food from being altered intentionally including a wide range that goes from the action of a disgruntled employee, a competitor, a supplier, to terrorist acts of any type. These alterations include physical, biological, chemical, or even radioactive agents (not to be confused with Food Safety that covers other terms and does not imply an intrinsic intentionality). The consequences of the above risks can be imagined: from serious intoxications, mortality (depending on the product) through serious economic incidents, impact on the image of the country and even panic in the population.

Although initially this term applies to those companies that want to sell or set up in the United States, it has now spread rapidly to other countries in our area, creating technical standards such as the IFS (International Food Standard) that has been developed by German distributors, French and Italian companies with the purpose of helping suppliers to supply safe products according to specifications and current legislation.

The main goals for this standard are:

  • Guarantee the legality, safety and quality of manufactured products.
  • Ensure the supply of safe products, according to their specifications and in compliance with legislation, achieving a reduction of costs and achieving transparency throughout the supply chain.
  • Reduce costs and time to manufacturers and distributors.

The most significant benefits are: - Reduces the costs of possible mistakes in any production chain. - Provides organized communication and with all stakeholders. - Provides consumer confidence. - More efficient and dynamic control of risks to food safety. - Reconciling food safety and quality control.

In this way, TIS offers its extensive experience in consulting and systems to achieve Food Defense certification, developing it in four stages:
Analysis and Diagnosis: through customer visits and previously designed interviews, an accurate “photo” of the current state of security is obtained with respect to what is dictated by the IFS protocol and the customer requirements (Gap Analysis).
Design of the Action Plan: derived from the above, the procedures, organization and necessary measures for IFS compliance are established, observing the different risks that may arise in both usual and exceptional scenarios. This Plan is carried out in detail including the engineering of the security systems: based on the observed risks and the objective of IFS compliance, TIS designs several concentric security rings that include innovative technologies of CCAA, CCTV (fundamental the availability of analytics specific video to ensure the traceability and detection of certain activities), intrusion detection, positioning of presence of people or elements, etc., as well as offering innovative solutions in the field of cybersecurity, which will help to offer total protection against any physical risk and / or logical. At this point, some of the requirements that need to be considered to comply with the IFS standard are observed, always offering integrated solutions designed specifically according to the particularities of each client: - Carry out a control of the personnel that access / leave to / from the facilities, as well as the vehicles, through the installation of automated systems. - Perform a control of the personnel that access the facilities of the facilities where food is handled, by installing elements that prevent the passage of unauthorized people. - Control the passage of the client’s personnel through certain points in the process chain, not necessarily involving the interaction of said personnel on the system. - Perform a check on the loading docks to ensure the allocation of the load with the planned transport, thus allowing the process traceability. - Perform a specific visual control of the processes, especially in the facilities of the facilities where food is handled. - Perform a general visual control of the installations, and of certain critical points.

Implementation of the Action Plan: TIS offers a turnkey project where the necessary measures are deployed with the premise of causing the minimum impact on the client’s usual processes. Another point of special importance for TIS is the transfer of knowledge, with which training, and awareness-raising actions are designed for all affected personnel. Plan Follow-up: periodic evaluations and simulations are carried out to verify that the alignment of the Plan with the established in IFS is maintained. In the case of discrepancies, suitable improvements are proposed.
These four stages are perfectly cohesive thanks to an Integral Project Management based on different standards and methodologies such as, for example, PMI (Project Management Institute) thanks to the fact that TIS has an important number of certified personnel in these specialties.

María de los Ángeles Vázquez Quiroga and José Ignacio Rueda Benítez
Engineering Experts