Georgofili World

Newsletter of the Georgofili Academy

Site Security (SS) and Food Defense: beyond Food Safety

The issue of voluntary food contamination  has been a problem for a long time. Over the last few decades, cases of food product sabotage have been published in media worldwide, and has raised worry and concern in public opinion. Awareness of progressive growth of global food distribution – and of the related potential risks for contamination - has been further fuelled by the Universal Exposition (EXPO 2015) in Milan, Italy which is dedicated to the theme “feeding the planet” this year. 
The Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) system on which Food Safety Regulation is based in Europe, US, and in most of the developed countries, allows the identification, evaluation and control of food safety risks  and prevention of accidental contamination. The attack of September 11 has dramatically drawn attention also to the risk of voluntary contamination for terrorism. The US Government has promptly addressed this issue by promulgating the “Bioterrorism act of 2002”. So far, the European Commission has limited its commitment to the publication. In 2007, the “Green book for protection against biologic attacks” dealt with this topic in a very superficial way. The American Food Defence plane, on the contrary, aims to identify, combat and monitor potential sources of international food contamination. The USDA Food Safety Inspection defines Food Defense as ‘the protection of food products from intentional alterations due to biologic, chemical, or radiologic agents’. Events of intentional contamination include sabotaging of production lines up to the alteration of the product already distributed for commercialization. Food companies that are facing the world market cannot ignore this new dimension. Cases of food contamination generate collective worries, loss of faith in costumers, and severe damages to intere sectors. Guidelines of Food Defence (FD) and Site Security (SS), still poorly understood in Europe, represent a novel topic that, at the world level, will increasingly interest more the chains of big distribution of food products. European producers are becoming aware of this new demand. Protection of production sites and of food product transportations by sabotaging acts cannot be neglected. If this is true, it should be emphasized that exporting food products into the US requires complying to specific requirements of the ‘Bioterrorism act’.
(Pero Cravedi -