Food Defense Program

Food Defense Verification for Specialty Crops Producers

The Specialty Crops Inspection (SCI) Division offers the following services to verify a fruit, vegetable, and nut producers’ food defense systems related to buyer requirements.  Choose the service that fits your facility and certification needs. All of the following service options satisfy USDA Commodity Procurement Program vendor requirements. 

Food Defense System Survey

For processing facilities, or storage or offsite warehouse facilities that handle processed fruits, vegetables, and related products

Food Defense Audit

For On-Farm Packing Houses

  • USDA GAP audit – Part 7 (soon to be relabeled Part 5), Preventive Food Defense Procedures
  • For locations that ARE NOT required to meet the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations for intentional adulteration.
  • Contact your local USDA specialty crops audit office for additional information or to schedule an audit.
  • Food Defense Audit Resources

For Packing Houses (not on-farm), Distribution Centers, Warehouses, and Processing Facilities

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