The Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a new directive detailing the emergency Food Defense Verification Procedures for inspection personnel when the Department of Homeland Security declares a threat condition (Yellow, Orange or Red). The directive clarifies how inspection personnel are to document breaches in food defense or evidence of product adulteration.

When instructed to do so, the Inspector in Charge will notify the establishment’s management of the threat and the implementation of the Food Defense Verification Procedures. The FDVP will take immediate priority over other assigned tasks. Any breaches or related concerns will be shared with the establishment and should be corrected immediately.

With an alert (Yellow, Orange or Red) not specific to the food and agriculture sector, the inspector will randomly evaluate one of the following food-defense areas: outside premises, control/use of hazardous chemicals, live animal health (slaughter plants only), equipment calibration, loading dock/shipping areas, incoming raw materials, maintenance activities, storage areas, water systems, production/processing or employee behavior.

With an Orange alert, the inspector will randomly evaluate three of the food-defense areas listed above, in addition to any other actions prescribed by the district office. The inspection activities will be unscheduled procedures and after all food safety procedures are performed.

With a Red alert, specific to the food and agriculture sector, the inspector will evaluate all of the food-defense areas listed above, in addition to any other actions prescribed by the district office such as product sampling. All food-defense and food-safety activities must be accomplished.

All establishments will be asked (at the first weekly PBIS meeting after receipt of this revised directive) if they have a food-defense plan, and whether it is written, implemented, tested, assessed and maintained. The Inspector in Charge will report the results of his/her meeting with the food establishment.

The complete directive is available at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/5420.1_Rev2.pdf 

American Meat Institute