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Grading, Certification, and Verification
Food Defense System Survey  
Specialty Crops Inspection (SCI) Division developed the “Food Defense System Survey” (FDSS) as a means of verifying an organization’s Food Defense systems. These are measures that operators of food establishments may take to minimize the risk of tampering or other malicious criminal actions against the food under their control. Operators of food establishments are encouraged to review their current procedures, controls, and work to mitigate the potential for tampering. A FDSS may be performed at any processing facility, storage, or offsite warehouse facility handling processed fruits, vegetables and/or related products.

Who would use the Food Defense System Survey?

  • Companies interested in demonstrating to customers that they have effective food defense procedures in place.


  • Companies who want to demonstrate that their facility meets the Food Defense requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Fruit and Vegetable Programs (FV), Commodity Procurement Branch, Purchase Programs and other programs requiring a FDSS.

Benefits of Passing the Survey:

  • Independent 3rd-party USDA verification that specified Food Defense measures/criteria are met in accordance with FDA guidelines;

  • Demonstration of compliance with USDA/AMS/FV Purchase Program requirements.


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  FDSS Checklist (PDF)  
  FDSS Guidelines (PDF)  
See Also
  Plant Survey  
  Qualified through Verification Program  
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  Last Modified Date: 09/25/2013