Food Defense Program

Food Defense System Survey

Specialty Crops Inspection (SCI) Division developed the “Food Defense System Survey” (FDSS) (pdf) 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), Specialty Crops Program, Commodity Procurement Branch, Purchase Programs and other programs requiring a FDSS. 

The benefits of passing the survey are an independent 3rd-party USDA verification that specified Food Defense measures/criteria are met in accordance with FDA guidelines; and Demonstration of compliance with USDA/AMS/FV Purchase Program requirements.

Specialty Crops Inspection Division- Food Defense Contact Info:

Additional Resources

Food Defense Verification Program

Meat, Poultry, Egg, and Fish Suppliers and Cold Storage Facilities

The Quality Assessment Division (QAD) performs Food Defense audits for meat, poultry, egg, and fish product suppliers—as well as cold storage operators—who want to provide assurance to their customers that they maintain documented and operational food defense/food security measures.  The Food Defense Verification Program is offered on a voluntary, fee-for-service basis.   

The Food Defense Verification Program satisfies the requirements of the USDA Foods commodity purchase programs, specifically that all qualified contractors and subcontractors have a documented and operational food defense plan that provides for the security of a plant’s production processes and includes the storage and transportation of pre-production raw materials and other ingredients and post-production finished products.  The prospective suppliers plan must be audited and approved prior to bid opening on a USDA Foods solicitation, and subsequently audited on an annual basis.

Additional Resources

QAD Food Defense Verification Program- Contact

Food Defense Verification Program Coordinator