New security solutions being developed for food safety

Food and beverage manufacturers are taking new steps to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act and prevent bioterrorists or thieves from contaminating foods.

Don Hsieh, the director of commercial and industrial marketing at Tyco Integrated Security, spoke this week on the subject of bioterrorism and food defense. Many of the new technologies being developed, he said, are meant to prevent both bioterrorism and unintentional food safety lapses, Food Navigator USA reports.

One such technology sets up virtual hot spots in factories that will set off an alarm if a staff member enters a zone while not wearing an authorized radio frequency identification tag. Another uses a video-based approach that can spot particular colors or movements that are not allowed in a sensitive area.

"Let's say everyone authorized to handle nuts is dressed in blue," Hsieh said, according to Food Navigator USA. "If someone comes in wearing red, an alert is generated."

Manufacturers are also using remote video auditing to improve compliance and uncover malicious activity.

"Compliance at some firms can go up from 70-80 percent to 100 percent using these techniques," Hsieh said, according to Food Navigator USA.

Hsieh said that manufacturers are testing out solutions that would prevent food trucks from being stolen by preventing the vehicle from moving or by setting off a panic alert.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently conducted vulnerability assessments and found the most vulnerable food defense areas are the ingredients staging process; storage, mixing, grinding and re-work; and bulk liquid recovery and loading, Food Navigator USA reports.