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As soon as an intentional contamination incident is suspected, isolate all product that may have been contaminated. In the food defense plan, identify a location within the facility where potentially contaminated food can be quarantined, separate from uncontaminated products. Facilities need to determine what procedures will be used to contain contaminated food products and the exact location for the containment.


To respond to the emergency appropriately, facilities need to know what contaminant was used and how. As soon as possible, contact the appropriate person to diagnose the contaminant. If there are issues, a food processing plant will need to call a food inspector: FSIS for meat, poultry, eggs, or catfish; FDA for other foods. In the plan, include a list of emergency telephone numbers. The numbers on the list will vary, depending on the operation and its location.


In the event of an intentional contamination incident, contaminated food that has already left the facility will need to be recalled and contained. To effectively recall these types of products, the organization must know where all of the food or livestock has gone. Keeping reliable contact information for suppliers, customers, and processing lots will make this process much easier. Include all contact information in the plan. HACCP plans or similar operational documents will contain information related to trace forward/trace back procedures, which is a requirement for food processors. Also, because recalls often result from contamination that has been unwittingly passed on to the company by suppliers, organizations will need to prepare for that possibility in the response plan. In addition, a recall may require e-notification of customers and communicating with specific media outlets.

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