DHS CSAC Transition of the Intentional Adulteration Assessment Tool

Lab Representatives

DHS CSAC Transition of the Intentional Adulteration Assessment Tool

The Intentional Adulteration Assessment Tool (IAAT) is a food defense software product that enables food companies to model their processes so vulnerabilities can be identified and the public health risk of an intentional poisoning by a chemical, toxin, or pathogen can be assessed. IAAT is timely in that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently promulgated the Intentional Adulteration (IA) Rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The IA Rule requires food processors to examine their processes for vulnerability to a food contamination attack. The IAAT enables the examination in a thorough, regulatorily acceptable manner, providing a critical resource for food processing plant managers and food safety and defense specialists.

The IAAT software utilizes Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-validated data on chemical and biological adulterants that are appropriate concerns for food terrorism. It enables food companies to enter specific details of the various process steps in their manufacturing operation, and then utilizes the physical properties and toxicological database contained in the IAAT to model the effect the process has on the adulterant. The tool further includes probabilistic methodology, which assesses the chances of terrorists and disgruntled individuals acquiring specific adulterants, and the chances of accessing each of the steps in a food processor’s manufacturing process.

The IAAT story began in September 2014 with the signing of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). Under the CRADA, a food defense modeling technology developed by DHS for government use was integrated with the food defense model that ADM had developed for its internal use. This “best of both worlds” approach resulted in a modeling tool very much in line with industry needs.

In April 2016, CSAC took the additional step to contract with the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI) to be the technology recipient and intermediary, with the requirement to receive and enhance the technology, and place it on a downloadable platform for industrywide use. FPDI transformed the CRADA work product (the IAAT) into a convenient format for industry use. After completing beta testing with members of the food industry, FPDI is making the IAAT available to the entire food processing industry via its FOODShield website.

The ultimate recipients of this technology are the thousands of food processors, including very large companies such as Cargill, PepsiCo, Con-Agra, ADM, General Mills, Kellogg, and McCormick; as well as very small “mom and pop” food processors and all of the processors in between. These processors provide the majority of the food Americans consume every day.

Winner: Jessica Cox

Contact: Jessica Cox, (410) 436-8367, jessica.cox@st.dhs.gov

Award Year: 
Region: 
Mid-Atlantic