Consumer confidence in the European food industry has been shaken by a number of recent scandals due to food fraud and accidental contamination, reminding the authors that deliberate incidents can occur. Food defence methods aim to prevent or mitigate deliberate attacks on the food supply chain but are not a legal requirement. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how proactive and reactive food defence practices can help prevent or mitigate malicious attacks on the food chain and also food fraud, food crime and food safety. The authors look at how food defence differs from food safety and how it contributes to food supply chain integrity.
Food defence has been the focus of two different EU FP7 security projects, EDEN and SNIFFER. Food industry stakeholders participated in workshops and demonstrations on food defence and relevant technology was tested in different food production scenarios.
Food industry end-users reported a lack of knowledge regarding food defence practices. They wished for further guidelines and training on risk assessment as well as access to validated test methods. Novel detection tools and methods showed promise with authentication, identification, measurement, assessment and control at multiple levels of the food supply chain prior to distribution and retail.
The prevention of a contamination incident, prior to retail, costs less than dealing with a large foodborne disease outbreak. Food defence should therefore be integral to food supply chain integrity and not just an afterthought in the wake of an incident.
It is argued that food defence practices have a vital role to play across the board in unintentional and intentional food contamination incidents. The application of these methods can help ensure food supply chain integrity.
This work was funded by two European Union (EU) Seventh Framework Programme projects (FP7/2007-2013): EDEN: End-User Driven Demo for CBRNe, under Grant Agreement no. 313077, and SNIFFER: Sensory devices network for food supply chain security, under Grant Agreement no. 312411. The authors would like to thank the EDEN workshop and demonstration participants for their contributions as well as thanking the authors’ food industry partners for their collaboration throughout the project. Lastly The authors would like to thank the EDEN and SNIFFER consortiums for their feedback on the manuscript and authorisation for publication.
Davidson, R., Antunes, W., Madslien, E., Belenguer, J., Gerevini, M., Torroba Perez, T. and Prugger, R. (2017), "From food defence to food supply chain integrity", British Food Journal, Vol. 119 No. 1, pp. 52-66. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-04-2016-0138Download as .RIS
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