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    Food Defense Program

    Food defense is becoming an essential focus in our nation's Public Health arena. The potential risk of deliberate contamination of the food purchased for use at home or when dining out is a new reality. The best way to combat this concern is to be prepared. Through education and preventive control measures, Tarrant County Public Health can prepare permitted food establishments to prevent, detect and respond to tampering or other malicious, criminal or terrorist actions or threats to the food supply. By evaluating current procedures and developing improvements to those procedures, food establishments will better enhance their ability to identify and eliminate potential risks. Tarrant County Public Health will facilitate by assuring food security awareness to all food establishments through education, monitoring continual implementation of protection protocols and assessing prevention measures already in place by performing food defense audits.

    Food defense awareness is a new realm for all of us. Education is crucial to enable local permitted establishments to design and implement food security plans. Tarrant County Public Health is committed to promoting education to maximize the preparedness of all permitted establishments.

    Integration between Tarrant County Public Health and local food establishments unifies the community, allowing for a more cohesive emergency preparedness plan. Risk assessments for food establishments are conducted by the owner/ manager. The knowledge of the facility, operations details and personnel provide a conclusive evaluation of the variables at each individual location. Participation with the local establishments gives an opportunity for Tarrant County Public Health to become familiar with establishments' food defense measures as well as to monitor the implementation over time as expansion and changes occur.

    Assessment of existing food defense plans will be an ongoing role of Tarrant County Public Health. Regular Food Security Audits will be conducted to evaluate current plans in place. Tarrant County Public Health will be able to coordinate with owners/managers to further secure prevention measures and evaluate the areas needing further development. Through the auditing process, Tarrant County Public Health and local food establishments will be able to accomplish the goal of a more efficient and effective food defense plan.

    For More Information on Bioterrorism and Food Security, click on the following links:

    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-defense-and-emergency-response

    http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/agentlist.asp