FDA Issues Security Self-Test Documents for Food Industry

As part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's comprehensive Food Protection Plan initiative, the agency released self-assessment tools last week for industry to minimize the risk of intentional contamination of food and cosmetics. The tools are companion pieces designed to make previously issued industry guidance documents more user-friendly and practical.

In 2003, FDA issued a set of Food and Cosmetic Security Preventive Measures Guidance documents. These documents are aimed at operators of food and cosmetic establishments, as well as businesses that produce, process, store, repack, relabel, distribute, sell or transport foods, food ingredients, and cosmetics to help them minimize the risk of malicious, criminal, or terrorist actions involving products under their control.

Using feedback from industry, FDA repackaged the information found in the guidance documents and created a corresponding self-assessment tool for each document. By using the tools, industry members can get a quick and detailed assessment of the measures they currently have in place to protect against intentional contamination of their products. With this consolidated information, it will be easy for them to see where meaningful improvements to their current practices can be made, the agency says.

The self-assessment tool asks the participant to mark the presence of a variety of food protection measures with a Y (Yes), N (No), N/A (Not Applicable), or Don't Know for each item. Examples of measures addressed by the self-assessment tools include the possibility of product tampering; identification of security procedures and responsibilities; and evaluation of response strategies in the event of product tampering or other intentional contamination. To access the guidance documents and self-assessment tools, visit http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/defguids.html. For information on FDA's Food Protection Plan, visit http://www.fda.gov/oc/initiatives/advance/food/plan.html.

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