Intentional adulteration is a relatively rare issue, but it’s also extremely serious, which is why its prevention must be part of any food safety plan. In this blog from ImEPIK, we’ll discuss the basics of intentional adulteration in food, what it means, and how food manufacturers must protect against it. 

What is Intentional Adulteration in Food?

Intentional adulteration in food is the planned contamination of a food product by one person or a group of people – either internal or external to the business.

For example, suppose a disgruntled worker contaminates a batch of food by dumping cleaning products into the container. This would be considered an internal case because an employee did it.

Food can also be adulterated and contaminated by people who do not work for the company. One of the best examples of this kind of attack in the United States happened in 1984 when followers of the cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh intentionally spread Salmonella to salad bars and buffets at various Oregon restaurants. This incident sickened more than 751 people and sent 45 of them to the hospital, though there were no deaths.

The FSMA Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food

Preventing intentional adulteration in food is, for obvious reasons, a high priority for all governmental agencies involved in food regulation and production. This is why the FDA’s FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) includes a rule to help mitigate intentional adulteration of food and prevent acts that cause wide-scale harm.

Acts of terrorism targeting the food supply could cause widespread illness, death, and economic disruption. While these kinds of attacks are currently infrequent, they can be very harmful, especially if they impact a large population. 

FSMA requires companies to protect themselves using various best practices, including creating a written food defense plan, conducting vulnerability assessments, and mitigation strategies such as verifying worker identities and compliance with food defense plans. 

Proper training and recordkeeping also must be implemented to ensure workers can recognize a potential issue, take action, and trace any potentially contaminated food and products. By following all relevant FSMA protocols, food manufacturers can dramatically reduce the potential harm caused by intentional food adulteration. 

Learn More about Food Safety with ImEPIK – Contact Us Today! 

At ImEPIK, we specialize in food safety. With our online, self-paced food safety training, you and your team can learn more about how to protect your products from contamination, ensure transparency, and abide by all federal food safety regulations. Don’t wait – contact us online to learn more and get signed up right away.