9 Mitigation Strategies for Food Defense: Visitor Management at Your Food Processing Facility

In Food Safety, Processing, Technology by Heather Brown1 Comment

FSMA’s seventh final rule (as of May 27, 2016) governs mitigation strategies for preventing intentional adulteration of food in slaughter and processing facilities.

Under this rule, your security measures must account for, among other things, all personnel and visitors passing through your plant’s doors every day. Depending on the size and scope of your operations, that can mean a lot of doors–and a lot of visitors–to monitor.

To help food processors bulk up their security, the FDA has compiled the Food Defense Mitigation Strategies Database.

Implementation of such procedures is an integral part of your Food Defense Plan. Fortunately, you can simplify many of the processes with a visitor management system (VMS) like The Receptionist for iPad.

Here are 9 mitigation strategies a VMS can be used to support:

Check-in/check-out procedure

A VMS will streamline your check-in/check-out processes. Information can be stored and used to verify visitors across your facility and even to stay in touch with them if necessary.

Acceptance of goods, mail, and packages

Delivery buttons on your VMS can identify your regular carriers and allow for standard and custom messages to be sent and received by delivery or plant personnel.

Driver check-in and vehicle documentation

A VMS that has a photo feature can help you keep up-to-date driver images on file, along with detailed vehicle documentation data.

Identification, escorts, and restricted access

Some VMS software will print color-coded visitor badges. That means any employee can know right away who visitors are and whether they’re authorized in limited-access areas.

Emergency response procedures

The check-out feature of your VMS is critical in an emergency, both to keep your food secure and to account for the safety of anyone still known to be inside your facility.

Recognize and report suspect items or events

Use color-coded visitor badges to train employees to report suspect visitors. A VMS should also offer two-way messaging and message forwarding, so reporting can happen more quickly and discreetly.

Minimize the number of access points to your facility

Visitor management software can process visitors more quickly, which may mean you can shut down a few of your access points and still keep operations flowing smoothly.

Monitor perimeters, exit/entry points, locations, and operations

You must use personnel to maintain security. A VMS won’t do the whole job. But its automated communication and data collecting features can help your security personnel stay more alert to smaller visitor irregularities.

It must be emphasized that a visitor management system will not eliminate the need for actual people to monitor your food plant’s access points. It can help, though, maintain more thorough, accurate information about your visitors that will stay consistent over time and across your facilities.

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