The number of food processing plants in the U.S. with a food defense plan rose from 83 percent to 84 percent between 2013 and 2014, according to the latest Food Defense Plan Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
A food defense plan is a system that works to protect food products from intentional adulteration or tampering. While food companies are not required by law to have a food defense plan, FSIS encourages companies to develop one.
This year marked the ninth-annual food defense plan survey for meat and poultry plants, as well as egg product plants and import inspection establishments. FSIS checks to see if plants have measures in place to address security inside and outside the building, protect personnel, and respond to incidents.
FSIS has made a goal to have food defense plans at 90 percent of U.S. processing plants by next year. So far, it seems to be the smallest category of plants which are lagging behind with implementing defense plans.
This year, 98 percent of “large establishments” had defense plans, while plans were found at 91 percent of “small establishments” and 77 percent of “very small establishments.” FSIS did not specify how large a plant needed to be to qualify as large or small.
FSIS said it will have to boost outreach related to food defense for the smallest establishments if it hopes to reach the goal of 90 percent by next year.
These surveys have taken place every year since 2006, when 34 percent of plants had defense plans. Five years later, in 2010, that number had risen to 74 percent.
Below are charts showing the increase in food defense plans since 2006:© Food Safety News