Assessment, Development and Implementation of Training Materials for Food Defense/Safety, Biosecurity, and Traceability within the Catfish Industry
The objective of this research and subsequent training sessions was to assess food defense in the catfish industry, promote awareness and educate catfish farmers and processors on the principles of food defense, biosecurity and traceability of agricultural commodities and ingredients used in human food production. In the catfish processing chain, preliminary investigations have indicated that there are areas throughout production, processing and distribution that are susceptible to potential terrorism. Records for complete traceability were also found to be inadequate. At the training sessions participants were asked a series of questions covering different areas of food defense/safety, biosecurity and traceability. Of those surveyed, 74% said they have a food defense plan; 48% had a working traceability plan; and 52% had a biosecurity plan. Pre- and post-assessments were given to evaluate the effectiveness of the training sessions. Overall 68% of participants scored equal or higher on the post-assessment as compared to pre-assessment. While many larger catfish processors were found to be more prepared on certain principles, there is a need to advance training and knowledge further into their sector of the industry. Through effective food defense training and education, farmers and food processors are able to better assess all vulnerable points to develop food defense plan and traceability measures that are best suited for their operations. With proper training and awareness, farmers and others throughout the food distribution chain are better prepared to continue and even increase the security of our food supply.
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