Food Terrorism!


The Mary Daly Food Safety Team recently attended an intensive information course on TACCP. TACCP stands for Threat Assessment Critical Control Point. This course was directly informing us about the new danger of Food Terrorism and what we can do to limit its effectiveness.

TACCP has been prevalent in the US for many years and is beginning to gain traction (quite quickly) over here mainly due to the increase in conflicts around the globe from the Middle East to the Ukraine.

The aim of TACCP is to improve the resilience of supply chains to terrorism or other forms of attack. At the moment the threat level from attacks by terrorists is a serious concern. The attacks in Paris and Belgium showcased the immediate danger that Europe itself faces. Ireland has been considered by Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan as not in immediate danger of an attack. However he stressed earlier in the year that Ireland along with its fellow European countries must remain on the alert. The attacks in Tunisia showed that being a neutral country does not mean that we or our citizens are immune to attacks by extremists. What has this to do with Food? Believe it or not but Food terrorism is and has been a distinct possibility. In 1984 a cult in the United States infected a Salad bar with Salmonella, this incident led to over 700 people getting sick, Tyenol tablets were intentionally lace with cyanide in 1982 and this led to the tragic deaths of 7 people. This incident increased the need to reform the packaging of all edible substances. These incidents showed that Food terrorism is not a new phenomenon. In Afghanistan, Allied forces found evidence of plans to attack America’s agriculture. With the increase in unpredictable terrorist attacks every industry and not just the food industry will have to look seriously at the prevention of intentional contamination of its goods. TACCP does not only focus on food safety and the effects on the immediate consumer. TACCP takes into account food fraud i.e. substitution of food ingredients for commercial gain and adulteration of food with the intention of causing harm.

Implementation of a TACCP plan should involve the whole organisation and should include (but not be limited to) representatives from Security, Human Resources, Quality Department, Food Processing Department, Purchasing, Communications.  This multidisciplinary approach is required as the threats accounted for in TACCP may require control from any one of these departments.

When implementing a TACCP system the questions to ask yourself are:

  1. Who might want to attack us? e.g. disgruntled employee, animal rights activists, terrorists
  2. How might they do it? e.g.  through ingredients, water etc.
  3. Where are we vulnerable? e.g.  Physical security? Staff screening? Online systems?
  4. How can we stop them e.g. Security patrols, prudent recruitment, online protection (firewalls etc.)

Once these questions are answered a risk assessment can then be carried out to assign a risk level to the threat (A,B,C,D) – If a threat is level A or B then controls must be put in place.

Examples of Controls include:

Prudent recruitment

Access by fob key only

Restricted access of certain areas

Training of staff in FIRST

FIRST is the procedure for training staff in TACCP:

Follow HACCP Plan

Inspect Work Area

Recognise Anything Out Of The Ordinary

Secure All Ingredients, Suppliers

Tell Management Of Anything Out Of The Ordinary

Do you wish to find out more about TACCP or has a customer requested that you implement TACCP. Contact us now to find out more at: 021 4355917. Alternatively you may email us at: