The Dept. of Homeland Security has designated 16 “critical infrastructure” sectors considered so vital that their incapacitation or destruction would seriously hurt the country. One of these sectors is food and agriculture, and for that reason the Auburn University Food Systems Institute (AUFSI) has created a website (www.aufsi.auburn.edu/fooddefense) with information about corporate defense, ranging from cyber security and operational security to threat intelligence, logistics security, and personnel and perimeter security.
“The food production, processing and distribution systems, whether wholesale or retail, are potential targets that must be hardened rapidly or eventually suffer the consequences,” says Bob Norton, a veterinary biologist who chairs AUFSI’s food and water defense working group.
Norton said representatives from key industries would be involved in the working group to ensure their concerns are adequately considered and that practical solutions are discovered through collaborative problem solving.
“Business cannot depend on the government,” he says. “Brand is everything in this highly competitive economy, and a company not capable of protecting the consumers of its products is a company likely not long for this world.”