Food Defense, a tick-box or a conscious choice?

What if your competitor unashamedly takes pictures of your production area? It happened to one of our companies. How could this happen?

The competitor found out what cleaning company worked there. Then they entered the company premises with a similar-looking van. Disguised as employees of the cleaning company, they entered the production area where they were able to undisturbedly film the production process.

Eventually, a real employee of the cleaning company addressed them. He did not recognise his ‘colleagues’and found it strange that they were filming and taking pictures. The employee informed his own employer and someone from production. After many detours, the quality manager was eventually informed about the incident. Fortunately, they were able to identify the culprits and they will (hopefully) be prosecuted in the near future.

What can we learn from this incident?

Create a Food Defense culture

This case shows why investing in Food Defense is so much more than just a certification tick box.

Make sure that your Food Defense team prepares a plan. Critical areas (laboratory, chemicals, sensitive production areas) as well as access control systems (badge reader, turnstile, fencing, etc) should be mapped out.

Next, you should sensibilize everyone: from operators to administrative staff to management. Because everything stands or falls on the right culture.

Eventually, you will measure this culture on a regular basis with intrusion tests.

Install a clear escalation protocol

Every employee must know whom to inform when spotting suspicious actions and persons. Go for a short chain, for example: operator – production manager – quality manager – plant manager. Subcontractors should also follow the escalation protocol. Be sure to include this in your contract and test it from time to time.

Organise a debriefing after an incident

If such an incident takes place, you had better use it to create awareness. What were the red flags, how should everyone have reacted, how will you handle this in the future? This way, your employees will understand why it is important to follow the guidelines.

Re-evaluate existing customs with a critical eye

Is an open house necessary? Do you really need hairnets in 4 different colours? Is the production area a 100% phone free zone? Does everyone have a clearly visible badge (visitor, subcontractor, operator)? Is the accessibility of the work uniform with company logo limited? Is it clear to everyone what is to be expected:

- When a visitor walks around unaccompanied?

- When a person has not got a badge?

- When someone uses a phone in the production area?

- When someone asks permission to enter the premises or building?

- When someone wanders about in the administration building?

How can we help you?

By emphasizing the importance of Food Defense during a Food Defense awareness session. We stimulate dialogue and brainstorming by using current examples.

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During said Food Defense workshop we help your team by lifting your plan to a higher level. We project ourselves into the mind of a criminal and search for its loopholes.

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We use an intrusion test to measure your Food Defense culture. How does the staff handle a request to ignore the procedure? Is the suspicious person addressed?

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Ready to reinforce your company against a crisis?

We offer you an external and objective view on the facts 24/7, including an evaluation of the situation and advice on how to handle it.