“Food defense” has become an increasingly important subject in the age of global terrorism. The average person assumes the U.S food supply is safe because of government oversight, yet in reality keeping our food system safe depends on individual companies doing a good job. A terrorist attack on a key food could have a magnification effect, causing people not to trust the U.S. food supply. Eggs, for example, go into many products. For that reason, consumers have to be aware, and small- and medium-sized producers and processors need help assessing threats and developing food defense plans. MORE
We are a working group of the interdisciplinary Auburn University Food Systems Institute. We are interested, individually and as a group, in helping to make sure that the U.S. food supply remains safe. MORE
Our approach is simple. We look for threats to food and water systems and develop strategies that can be used by corporations, commodities, and utilities to mitigate those threats. The solutions of today might not be effective tomorrow, because threats evolve. We develop robust and adaptable strategies that can be used to counter the threats we identify, we will disseminate information to the corporations and the public. No actionable intelligence or corporate threat assessments will be made public. MORE
‘Food safety’ vs. ‘food defense’
Food safety and food defense are two side of the same coin, and food defense is one of the key elements in food safety. The difference is that food safety efforts generally focus on unintentional contamination of a food or water source from pathogens and other contaminants, while food defense focuses on intentional contamination by saboteurs, terrorists, or garden-variety criminals out to destroy a company’s brand.
The Art of War in Food Defense
The Art of War at its simplest, and most complex, is a set of guidelines describing how to achieve victory by overcoming threats (adversaries), while expending the least capital possible. Whether in war or business, the goal is to achieve success (defined by your corporation), without breaking the bank or destroying the enterprise along the way. Food defense is a balancing act, where maximizing benefit must include careful consideration of financial and human costs. A maximized food defense program could be designed, which would break the proverbial bank and in the end damage the very assets (company financial well-being, brand, etc.) it was designed to protect. That would be foolish, but so would a food defense program made so weak (no capital expenditures, poorly designed or implemented, etc.) that it protected nothing. READ MORE