Food and Agriculture Security
Seminar attendees gathered Tuesday morning to discuss the susceptibility of the food and agriculture industry. Michael Fagel, a critical infrastructure analyst with Argonne National Laboratory, presented the session titled “How Vulnerable Is Our Food and Agricultural Infrastructure?” Fagel highlighted the many ways that food can be compromised during the stages of production from farm to fork.
The threat of compromised food can occur during the production, processing, or distribution of the product; can have serious economic, health, and global impacts; and is considered a tempting target for terrorists, Fagel said. Because of this, security policies must be implemented at every level of food production and transportation. “Security has got to be just as important to your company as safety,” he said.
Fagel considers the top three nodes of vulnerability to be the product’s transportation from its raw state, when the product is sitting idle at a warehouse, and during distribution. Special attention should be paid to who has access to the product and how it is stored.
One aspect of the supply chain that is often overlooked by infrastructure analysts is the employees who come in contact with food, Fagel said. Employees can unknowingly contaminate food products, but a real danger lies in a disgruntled employee, he said. These employees know where the supply chain is weakest and how to easily contaminate bulk items.
Fagel recommended training employees to look for signs of contamination within the facility as well as employees who might have a problem with the company.
Vigilance, planning, and awareness of agroterrorism or food contamination are keys to keeping products safe and secure, Fagel said.
Crime and Loss Prevention
Attendees learned about building partnerships to fight crime in “Reducing Crime Through Community Engagement,” presented by the ASIS Crime and Loss Prevention Council. “Whatever community you’re in, you all share the same types of problems,” said Lawrence Fennelly, president of Litigation Consultants, Inc.
When embarking on a partnership, Fennelly stressed making sure that the parties agree on the point of the partnership and settle on a plan of action for the future. Some key elements of a successful partnership are effective leadership, structuring, setting goals, and building on early successes.
Fennelly extolled the potential of business and neighborhood watches and noted that they each have the same goal—reporting crime.
Marianna Perry, CPP, training and development manager at Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., told attendees they can either be consumers of law enforcement services or partner with law enforcement. She mentioned the traditional crime triangle, in which desire and ability meet up with opportunity to create crime. Perry said the only aspect of that triangle you can control is opportunity; if you remove opportunities, crime will be reduced.
Situational crime prevention is integral in neighborhoods and businesses and Perry pointed out that it’s not about profiling, rather about reporting suspicious activity based on behavior. She said that hardening targets with heavy doors, adequate lighting, locks, and other techniques is important, but so is incorporating CPTED principles, such as maintaining property and making a distinction between public and private areas.
Perry also mentioned the “hundred percent rule;” she said just because a strategy does not work one hundred percent of the time doesn’t mean you should not use it. It does mean, however, that you should consider security in-depth and ensure that other options are making up for the percentage of time the initial strategy doesn’t work. Perry stressed rooting out the cause of the problems and not just treating the symptoms.