ISI Security says private sector must prepare for food defense regulations

ISI Security, a security solutions provider, recently said that proposed regulations to increase food defense will increase financial burden on the food industry and the private sector must take on the added defense responsibilities.

Ray Gilley, the president and CEO of ISI Security, said the U.S. government is considering a rule that would require the owners, operators or agents of all domestic or foreign facilities to register with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The proposed rule is part of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, which was meant to transition the government to a more preventative or mitigative stance when it came to the safety and security of the food supply.

Gilley said the Focused Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration rule will be a cornerstone of the nation's food defense strategy once all the rules are finalized. He said the FDA identified four main activities within food systems that are most vulnerable to terrorist adulteration, including mixing, secondary ingredient handling, liquid storage and handling and bulk liquid receiving and loading.

"Facilities would be required to review their production system to determine if they have any of these activity types or complete their own vulnerability assessment," Gilley said. "Once that is completed, they would need to identify actionable process steps, which are points, steps, or procedures in a food process that will require focused mitigation strategies to reduce the risk of intentional adulteration. Facilities are also required to complete a written food defense plan. Once in place, this proposed rule would establish measures that a food facility would be required to implement to protect against the intentional adulteration of food."

Gilley said that each facility covered by the rule would need to prepare and implement a written food defense plan which would need to include record keeping, training, verification, corrective actions, monitoring, focused mitigation strategies and actionable process steps.

While there has not been a successful terrorist attack related to the U.S. food supply, Gilley said the implications of a successful terrorist incident could result in a large number of illnesses or deaths and huge economic impacts. He said the private sector must be ready to protect the food industry.

"The trend in the area of food defense is an increase of mandated regulation, with little or no government funding of the costs required to comply with the new regulations," Gilley said. "While the government has and will likely create tools and programs to minimize the impact of compliance, the majority of the financial burden will fall on the industry itself. This also means the private sector must prepare now to take on these added responsibilities."

ISI Security provides security solutions for detention facilities, chemical facilities, government facilities, finance operations, distribution centers and defense contractors. According to ISI Security, it has secured more than 2,000 detention facilities and delivered thousands of critical security facilities.