Most of the food-borne illness threats that we look at usually come from inadvertent contamination due to either a lack of training, negligence or an infected food source, but the threat of intentional contamination exists and steps should be taken to prevent this kind of scenario.
Food Terrorism and ServSafe Manager Certification
Few ServSafe manager certification courses cover the prevention of intentional food tampering, but according to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), certain food production facilities must take steps to prevent hazards from being intentionally introduced into the food production process that could cause wide-spread effects.
One key component of this rule is the identification and protection of areas of vulnerability. The article discusses open storage containers and mixing vats as potential targets for someone trying to tamper with your food. Other vulnerable sites in food production facilities could include outdoor gardens, unattended receiving areas or unsupervised areas of the kitchen after hours.
Food defense has long been voluntary, and many facilities do have safety standards in place to prevent malicious tampering with their product. The food defense requirement of the FSMA for large businesses takes effect July 26, 2019 and July 26, 2020 for small businesses with under 500 employees. Very small businesses may be exempt from these rules, but they must provide documentation that they are exempt by July of 2021.
Thankfully, the chances of an intentional food-poisoning outbreak are miniscule whether on a mass scale or at a smaller level. Do you do anything to prevent tampering with the product you prepare and serve at your facility?